Sunday, June 11, 2006

Dropping the Ball

I planned to spend the weekend catching up on mail, cleaning the house and going someplace special with Richie, since Johnny is in Chicago visiting his cousins. Instead, I'm scouring the Internet for job opportunities.

I've applied for three so far. Finding a job in three days is easier said than done. This, apparently, is why they say you should have three months of income saved in case of an emergency. Maybe next time.

The thought of piling more on my plate had me in tears.

Plus I've done this before. In high school, when I was staying up all hours to get A's, I always thought I'd be a working mom. But now I know what it's like to sit in a cubicle with my ear in the phone and think, "I spend more time with my coworkers than my kids. I'm losing a year of their day-to-day lives, and I'll never get it back."

And then the lady comes to the phone and I ask her how many ferrets she currently has as pets for a feature story on animal rescue groups.

"15, right now," she says.

"That's wonderful," I reply through tears. "So do you stay home with them?"

Don't get me wrong. I love writing. It's just that I like being a mom more.

This is all assuming that I actually find a job.

Justin, meanwhile, offered to take Richie to the pool. But Richie threw a temper tantrum.

"I want to go to the mushroom pool, the muuuushshroooooom pooooooool," he wailed.

The mushroom pool is an indoor pool that we don't belong to but went to one time.

I told him to stop whining.

He said, "I want to cry. I want to cry."

"You can cry," I said. "Just don't whine."

Whining is complaining while crying, something I'm trying not to do. I have nothing to complain about. I realize I dropped the ball in the strategic financial planning department. A more goal-oriented approach to my career would also have helped.

I'm hoping for a temporary job, but I realize that it might be time to go back to work anyway. It might be time to reconcile career goals with financial aims. There's more to mothering than reading stories and doing workbooks and making sandwiches and going to the zoo. You have to create security for them. It can't just be up to the dad to make ends meet. Not in today's double-income economy.

And as my nana pointed out on the phone, I've gotten to stay home for a long time with the baby, and I should be thankful for that.

I am so thankful, in fact, that I can't think about it without crying. This has been the best year of my life. I finally know how to be a stay-at-home mom. I know enough, after working full time for a year, to savor every (other) moment. To play Batman and dig for dinosaur fossils with them because pretty soon they'll be too realistic to do any of that.

Richie and his daddy ended up walking to the library, Justin on his crutches. They both fell asleep when they got home, and J.J. found a purple Botox stress ball under the bed, one of the accessories my cousin, a nurse for a plastic surgeon, gave me for my 30th birthday.

J.J. held it over his head and waved it. I sat across from him.

"Throw the ball to mommy," I said.

I watched him hold the ball out to side, up to the light and against the floor.

But when it came time to throw it, he couldn't let it go.

He raised his eyebrows and looked at me like, "Here we go. No, here we go. Okay, this time for real. Now. Do you have it? Shoot, I could have sworn I threw it that time."

He held it over his head and scrunched up his nose and made the throwing motion and said, "huh," but it still didn't budge from his man-hand.

Holding onto the ball was easier than letting go.

Finally, he accidentally lost his grip. The next time he lost it sort of accidentally on purpose. And at last, he held it underhand and opened up his fingers. It rolled to me and he laughed.

Now he's rolling it all over the place.

You can let go of something that's hard to let go of. You can even do it with a smile. It just takes practice. And just because you let go of it doesn't mean it's gone forever. It's still there, waiting for you to hold in a little while.

3 Comments:

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