“I like you, Mom-may,” Squeaker says in that cute little voice where he draws out all the m’s. Skipping along next to me, half-holding my hand only because I’ve requested his. Then he kisses my hand and nuzzles his face into my sweater. This morning, when I hugged him goodbye, I wanted to hold on just a little bit tighter and take in this one last precious moment.
Three weeks ago, I guiltily admitted to myself that I was dreading the time I’d have to spend home along with him during his recovery. Aside from just fearing the surgery itself, somehow I knew that his recovery time would be short and that I’d be home with a fully-recovered, fully-energetic, fully-autistic meltdown machine. I just knew it.
I must admit the first week was rough. He was whiny and impatient and caring for him and Big Guy, both of them equally needy, was rough. I was ready to pull my hair out.
But then something happened and we had these sweet moments, just him and I. Having him curled up on my lap while watching Sesame Street, making silly faces together, exuberant laughter…he even invited me to help him play his Cars game on his Leap Pad. They were fleeting moments, tolerated for only a few minutes at a time, but they happened. I felt honored to be allowed into his world again, after being rejected so many times before.
These are moments that don’t happen often enough. When I’m working and stressed and pressed for time, the opportunity for these moments decreases drastically. The last few days with him…the moments that were shared when Big Guy was sleeping or being watched by someone else…he seemed to need me more than ever. With hugs and kisses and piggy rides. With short walks just down to the cul-de-sac.
I realized that on Tuesday, he would be cleared to return to school, and I was sad. A far cry from how I felt initially, I would miss the time I had with him. With both my boys. In the time I had off with them, although we had our moments of total frustration (believe me we had them), I not only got to watch Big Guy do legitimate knee-crawling, finally say “mama,” and pull up on the couch to get to me, but got to bond with Squeaker again. I got to have positive moments where I didn’t feel rushed for time and didn’t have to push him to do anything.
Now we’re back in our routine. He’s back at preschool, I’m back at work, and, as of this afternoon, we’re back in meltdown mode. Because now I have to tell him “no” and when he crawls on the floor at school, pushing his face along the floor, I have to tell him to get up. And I can’t wait for him to get dressed whenever he feels like it because we have somewhere to go. And I don’t have all day to wait for him to walk backwards to our destination (it starts off being cute, but not when we’re pressed for time).
I wish life was full of those special moments, but unfortunately we couldn’t say in recovery forever. And unfortunately he can’t live life with no pressure, because that’s not what life is about.
This morning, when I hugged Squeaker goodbye, I held on a little tighter. As I walked away and went to work, I wasn’t as ready to go back to work as I thought I’d be. There just isn’t enough time spent with my boys where I can really, truly enjoy them. I need the snuggles and the smiles and the giggles as much as they do.
Working moms, how do you juggle it all? How do you fit in more of those precious moments?