And just like that…
When I was a little girl, I was crazy about sleepovers. I’d constantly be spending the night at friends’ houses or inviting them to mine. We’d see each other on a Friday at 6PM and basically party like eleven-year-old rock stars till the wee hours before either being chewed out by my mom with her scary grumpy you-woke-me-up face on, or else we’d pass out in front of the likes of Dirty Dancing, The Princess Bride or Beaches. We’d wake the next morning raring to go while my mom made us french toast and chocolate milk. We’d then play outside on our bikes or roller skates or climb trees. We would fill every second with something. Anything.
Invariably, though, when the time came for our kid-fun bender to come to a close, we’d whine the exact same refrain.
“Already!? but we haven’t even played yet!”
I delivered my second baby boy in January of this year. It is now October. And still, this refrain buzzes in my head. I feel like the months and months I had to soak in my baby have slipped through my grasping fingers, when I know – I KNOW – that I didn’t waste a precious day. I held that baby until my arms ached, and I talked to him till my voice sounded funny in my own ears. We played with Laura and Ethan at least once a week when we were in town, and we went for walks and hikes and spent time with family when we weren’t. I could not have possibly hugged or kissed or tickled or loved on that little chunk of squish any more than I did. But still, my heart has traveled back to my tween-self days and sings the injustice of it all.
I have so many family and friends that have not been fortunate enough to have even a fraction of the time I’ve spent in the company of both my babies. I count myself lucky every single day for that. But in my heart, it still feels like I haven’t even started.
So here I am on my fourth week back at work. The fourth Wednesday I’m spending away from my baby. Five minutes ago I was wrapping up projects and saying my goodbyes and getting ready to welcome my new baby, nervous about labor and having a newborn and the myriad anxieties that come with major life change.
And now here I sit. As if nothing has happened. Just like that. The same files are on my desk. The same voices on my phone. The same meetings in my calendar. It’s surreal.
Not that work is awful or life is horrid. They aren’t by any stretch. I’m glad for my job, it’s a good one. And I’m glad for my family, it’s a great one. The balance is hard right now, but we’ll find our way. Masa and I look at each other sometimes over the chaos that ensues each night in our home. Our eyes lock, and I remind him that these are the days we’ll miss.
This change has been hard. On all of us. But it’s a choice we make for our family. It’s a long-term decision, and I know it’s the right one. I’m not going to debate the merits of working inside or outside or on top of your home. All I know is my family.
Two parents: fully employed. Two boys: three and eight months. Our busy little family.
Just like that.