Thursday, May 6, 2010

The bittersweet of many moms

Bitter moment of the day:

I am scrambling for my bag of work items, for the food I've packed to take along with me. I'm looking for my purse, hurrying to put on shoes, making certain there's nothing in my teeth. I add a couple of things to the daily "to-do" list on the dining room table, rinse my dishes in the sink, and give my sweet boy a hug. "I have to go to work now, Buddy," I say. "I'll see you soon."

"I'll wave to you from the window, Mama."

"Okay, Honey. I love you."

"I love you."

Today I got off easily; sometimes he peppers me with "Mama, don't go" statements that break my heart into slivers that continue to slice each other further as I depart.

I run to the garage, climb in my car, back out of the driveway, close the garage door, and then look at the living room window where he's standing, small white hand outstretched in a farewell gesture. Most of the time, he's serious—not sullen but also not jolly. I wave back, honk the horn, blow a kiss which happily I receive in return. There's always a little lump in my throat. Guilt? Mere sadness? Fear that he's growing too fast? All of that.

And then I switch gears, and worlds, for a few hours.

* * * * * * * * * *

Sweet moment of the day:

My departure time is nearing at work; I try to finish up the current task, tidy my desk, turn off the computer, and say goodbye to whomever else is still there. My car is out back; I grab bags and coat if necessary and then exit to the old vehicle waiting in the lot. Climbing the hill out of the office plan, I begin to shed the "work" me. I turn on good music, I think about the day at home and what might have occurred in my absence. I wait for various stoplights, studying the people in the other vehicles, wondering what they're going home to greet. The drive is mercifully short, and in a few minutes I'm coming around the bend that passes my back yard. I always peer through the trees to see if I spy anyone back there, but it's hard to get a clear view.

Then, I'm rounding the last couple of turns and coming down my street. If Todd and the kid are outside, they've often spotted my old Saturn approaching, and if I'm lucky, Marcus is by now running toward me or waiting in the yard as I enter the garage and climb out. Every now and then, he waits for the engine to stop and then comes right down to my car door so he can climb in on my lap as soon as said door opens.

And then? The transformation is complete, I am "home" me once again, my arms full of wriggling breathless jabbering boy, the stresses of my day swept away as he tells me what they did today, where they went, what they ate. And that report is always followed by the same words: "Can you play?"

Yes, my dear boy. Now, I can.

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