I am blessed. BLESSED!
I remember my son’s first day of preschool. I looked on with a mixture of relief, and total terror, as he ran into the room and started playing without once looking back. Not once did he cling to me, or make a fuss for the teachers because I wasn’t there. He was ready. I was ready….sort of… I was fortunate-due to a series of unfortunate circumstances- in that I was able to spend the first 3 years of my little boy’s life at home with him. I was there from the moment he woke up in the morning, to his final sigh of sleep at night. I was there for every meal, every bath, every play-date. I took him everywhere I went; grocery shopping, visiting, banking… 24/7, 365, I was a full time, hands on, Mom.
Oh dear god, was I ever ready to go back to work! That next year blew by so fast. I was in school in the mornings, and working in the evenings, with a few blissful hours in the afternoon to rub together ALL to myself! Dinner hit the table and I was out the door. DH was in charge of bathing and bedtime and all I had to do was get up an hour and a half earlier in the mornings to fix breakfast and lunches before the boys got up. Part time school, part time job, part time Mom.
I look back at that time in my life with warm fuzzies. That blissful year where I got to be a little of everything, and it seemed like just enough for it all. I don’t remember being pulled or stretched outside of my comfort zone, nobody demanded in excess of what I was able to give. I had a social life, my husband and little boy were happy (well, my husband has never been happy, but he didn’t complain SO much), I felt useful and on my game. Then I had the BEST IDEA EVER….
And follows the worst year in my recent history. But that’s for another post- I don’t want to get myself riled up this early. At the end of that, there came a day where I was forced to choose between my full time job, and the needs of my family (the non-monetary needs that is)…The decision was pretty easy- by then, the stresses of full time work and trying to full time parent were driving me off the deep-end. Both endeavours were suffering my divided attention, and I wasn’t happy with the results. I quit my job at the same time we moved into our new home, and got the bright idea that I should take on everyone else’s kids.
At once, the most rewarding and the most crazy-making task I’ve ever taken on; there were days that I had 8 children to get ready for school, take to the bus, pick up, feed and entertain. Countless hours, countless loads of dishes and laundry, band aids, rolls of toilet paper, tears, boogers, fights… On my current resume, I have listed “Dayhome Operator”, and lists most of these things and finishes with “and other responsibilities, including but not limited to helping with loose teeth”. No kidding.
It’s time again though to move on. I have decided to go back to “work”. (I say this as though the last two years have been a vacation! HA-HA!) I look on this new horizon with the same mixture of terror and relief as the first time. What about MY KIDS? Will they run in to a new house with a new caregiver and carry on as though they’ve always been there? Will they look back to see if I’m there? Will the next person know who won’t eat broccoli and who needs their apples peeled? Will they be too squeamish to pull a wiggly tooth? These kids are almost as much my own as, well, my own. I’ve done all I can to ensure the transition will go smoothly. Most of them will still be coming HERE, but to a different grown-up while I’m at work.
At work! Where everyone can get their own damn juice.