Our kids’ caregiver came down with a terrible cold and so, like any other working parents of young children, we made the best of it. Evan and I are fortunate to both have flexible working schedules, allowing us to work after the kids go to sleep, and share parental responsibilities during the day in a pinch.
This was the first time however that childcare was only needed in the afternoons (now that the girls are both in school). While nervous as first, I quickly realized that minding a pre-schooler really just meant lunch followed by a nap and, once that was over, so were my core business hours.
However brief that lunch was, it was the sweetest thirty minutes that I can remember in quite some time. Picking up your child from school midday and walking home hand-in-hand while catching up on their day and even my own morning is extra-ordinary. We talked about science class, dance parties on rainy days, and how someone’s hair clip was confiscated because she fiddled with it. Lunch was quiet because learning at school is hard work. Last and most intoxicating is the brief but unforgettable cuddle which we shared right before nap.
I quietly patted down Eliza. Gingerly descending the stairs back to my computer, I was greeted by the emails, messages, and meeting notices it held safe and sound for me. And as I walked down to the kitchen I couldn’t help but envy any mom who has the luxury to eat lunch with her children and tuck them in for their nap, listen to them retell stories of their morning as soon as it’s over and not try to pry it out of them when they’re tired and hungry for dinner. These are luxuries that most people can’t afford and not always because they’re financially precluded from doing so. How I wonder about parents who can’t wait to ship their kids off to school — an inevitable eventuality.
That being said and smarting from the the sting of envy I remembered that, one day, when the girls are just a bit older and have their own lives making them not be available for pre-school lunch dates, I will be there in the evenings and weekends. And … and I will be me and not just “mom”. And “me” works because it fulfills my drive for making something with my own hands that improves the lives of many other people.