When I worked outside of my home, I missed a lot. You will never hear me say a bad word about those parents that still must go to work and put a child in daycare (though you might hear me badmouth the economic system that put them in that quandary) because I remember how hard that was. Pumpkin was five months old when I finally found a job (I’d been laid off while pregnant, then worked a temporary job until he was born). I knew I was lucky to even have that much time with him. Most parents don’t.
My first day back in the working world, I dropped Pumpkin off at daycare, then drove to Riverside (a thirty minute drive) sobbing all the way. I can tell you over and over all the ways in which I was lucky: I loved that first daycare provider, my job was such that I could call and check on him without getting in trouble, and somehow most of the big firsts landed during home time with Pumpkin. Lucky, lucky, lucky. But I still missed a lot of precious hours. They grow so fast in the first couple of years. You can practically watch the changes.
There are moments in homeschooling (particularly as Pumpkin is a challenging child) when I feel like I’m going to go bonkers. But stepping back and looking, I am so lucky to be with him and Ducky. And were it not for Pumpkin’s special needs, I would be missing all the stuff with Ducky. For that I’m really grateful (even if I don’t always realize it in the moment).
Ducky’s big firsts have all landed in those day time hours that I would probably have had to work. There’s little things with him that are so precious. If you swing him tightly in your arms and say, “I love my baby,” he will answer back with “I love my mommy” (or daddy). I don’t think I would have known that if he were in daycare because he only seems to do it between 9am and 11am.
Similarly, there are still discoveries for Pumpkin. Today he ran 50 yards in 8.4 seconds, faster than ever before. I was there. And when he figured out how to rearrange the snap circuits to make the music box play and light up at the same time (it’s not supposed to do that) I was there.
My mother was a stay at home mom, but none of my other siblings have managed to be. Both of my sisters managed for a short time, but had to return to work before their children reached school age. It’s very hard to make it on one income these days, and even though Hubby has a really good job and works his butt off to support us, we’re struggling. I’m trying to work from home and maybe I won’t be able to keep this up much longer.
But I’m also trying to take a step back and realize that I’m spending precious, fleeting moments. For all the times I’ve had to argue with Pumpkin or redirect, redirect, redirect, someday these memories will be what I cling too, because our children are only on loan to us. Eighteen years, give or take, is all we get and then we have to let them make their way in the world. As hard as this is, I know that will be harder.