Recently, Taylor's car broke down....like, really broke down. Needs-a-new-engine broke down. We are operating with one car for several weeks, which is fine, since our offices are actually right down the street from each other. Adjusting my schedule from the 7 to 3:30 work day I had grown accustomed to and loved to an 8-5 schedule meant more time with my husband (hour long lunches together and the commute!), but also, a more hectic morning for both of us, scrambling to get the diaper bag ready and the baby in the carseat, meanwhile having a lot less quality time with my soon-to-be one year old. Before, I'd sneak out the door before Elliott woke, would get home at four, occasionally take Elliott for a ride to take my mom home, and then have a little time with him alone before papa got home. We'd play, sing songs, take a walk. Now, since the babysitting hours are longer, we take Elliott to my mom's place, pick him up about 5:30, and aren't home until nearly 6. Make dinner, dishes, bath, bed. Very little quality time for any of us.
When we picked Elliott up from my mom's place one afternoon last week, he was holding himself up standing in his pack & play, giving us a big grin. "Oh hi mom & dad! Look at me!" Something about the scene made me really sad. Maybe I was being overly sentimental about this temporary work schedule shift but even though he was (standing!) right in front of me I really started to miss my baby. He has changed so much in the last few weeks, it's been blowing my mind. Sitting himself up, crawling, pulling himself up, walking with (a lot) of assistance. All in a matter of weeks. DiGeorge Syndrome delay scares be damned, my kid is growing. Growing up and turning one in less than two weeks. And I feel like I am missing it.
A day came last week where I woke up with a terrible headache and decided to take a sick day in bed. My mother-in-law was scheduled to watch him that day to give my mom a break, and it's been a few weeks since she'd seen him. She was excited to spend the day with Elliott, so, off Elliott went to Grammy J's, while I stayed home thinking it was a good opportunity to rest and relax and calm down from the craziness.... the truth of the matter was I was at home, alone, no car, and no Elliott. Did I miss my husband? No. I missed my baby! I caught myself in sobs on more than one occasion that day, doing the opposite of resting. Instead, I spent the day thinking what a bad mom I was taking time for myself.
I suppose motherhood is always going to present struggles, not only physical struggles or financial struggles but also inward struggles. I spend many a day picking myself apart because I am making dinner and doing the dishes and missing the precious moments with my son. It has been very hard to find that balance. I have to eat. And dammit, if the dishes aren't done I won't have a clean plate to eat off of tomorrow. But at the end of the day when Elliott's head hits the pillow I find myself feeling guilty and guiltily exhausted and off to bed to get ready for the next day. I don't know how to shake it.
With another baby that is 2ish months away from her due date, I am worried about the time I have with Elliott that's slipping through my fingers. We are finding ourselves in toddler formula, size three diapers, covering our outlets with safety plugs. Crawling! Pulling books off shelves. Bringing a book from his room to show us. Getting home from work sometimes I feel I don't even know who my son is. Everyday he just looks different. More aware. Smarter. Brighter. Wilder. He is turning in to such a beautiful human being and I feel like I am missing it.
I was a little disappointed today to come home to a napping baby, but when he wakes up, his dad & I will be here. To hold him and snuggle him and tell him about our day. How much we missed him. How even though we leave him with Grammy five days a week we still love him. Want the best for him. And that we see so much potential in those bright brown eyes. Thankfully it's the weekend. I'll be the first face he'll see tomorrow and one of the last faces he'll see tonight. It's funny how much more special the weekends are, how I look forward to staying home doing nothing, shaking the busyness of the week out of our hair and savoring long morning filled with oatmeal breakfasts and SpongeBob reruns. Working has really made me realize what counts in life. I have to savor those long mornings, the evenings after work. They are all I have, making them all the more special.