“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”Gilda Radner

Friday, January 31, 2014

The Gift of Time

Today was supposed to be my last official day home with my kids. Last October I tried hard to focus on the positives: I was having a baby, a beautiful one, and I was able to stay home with him a few weeks longer than originally planned. But the realistic me was focused on the fact that a few weeks longer only meant that I'd still have to leave an awfully tiny baby at home.

Fast forward to now, and I don't have to go back to work after all! And somehow, taking off a whole school year is way easier for me to handle than just half of one. I'm not nearly so focused on having to go back. Instead, I'm thinking of all these things with huge relief:

1. I won't miss baby's first word, which will surely be "Mama," because we're already so much in love. I mean, he loves his dad and his brothers, too, but he definitely loves me best.

2. I won't miss baby crawling! I don't know why, but crawling is almost more thrilling to me than walking. I think it's because I struggle so with infancy so much. I've loved all of my babies desperately, but not because I love babies. Just because they're mine, and because as they grow, they turn into my people. It really isn't about babies at all, who in general I find to be both nerve-wracking and baffling.

3. I won't have to worry about someone shaking my baby. I never worried about this with Joey and Noah, and I blame that on the fact that I was really young, comparatively, when I had them. I spent time worrying about small things, like spitting up and sleep schedules, rather than even thinking of all the other, greater dangers that could befall them. I think that for me at that time, it was easier to believe my greatest worries were such little things. Now, however, I read the news, and it's spoiled my illusions forever. So. Yeah.

4. I don't have to go to work. This is not as lazy as it sounds. First of all, I'd have to leave my three-month-old (and my kindergartener, and my third-grader) and go to be with other people's children who, let's face it, I'm never going to care about as much as the children I'm leaving behind. Sorry, but if you thought otherwise, be real! Second, I was out of sick days. Already, in the first have of the year, Noah alone has missed nine days. Any time I needed to stay home and take care of him, I'd have to take unpaid leave, which equals additional stress. And last, teaching is a rough industry right now. Just saying.

5. I get this many more chances to be the first one to make Max laugh. I seriously thought he would have by now, and I'd be terribly upset if I had to go back without hearing it.

6. I'll be able to go to Noah's Mother's Day celebration at school AND his kindergarten graduation (which I would have had to miss due to not having any sick/personal days left).

7. I get to take my family on a trip during a non-peak season. Because if we had to go during a peak season, we wouldn't be able to afford the airfare for all of us.

I have thought about the fact that I might miss Max's first steps next fall, but I reassure myself by thinking that a) he might be an insanely early walker (though by the looks of things, probably not; he hasn't even laughed yet, after all) or b) we'll have an awesome nanny who will do something cool like knock him over if it looks like he's going to walk before I get home.

In the meantime, I am focusing on how the tough stuff is temporary, how the good things are so insanely good, and how my children fill me up and make everything so, so worth it.

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