For some crazy reason, Mother Nature decided to bless us with not one, but two beautiful days this weekend where it actually pretended to be spring for real: sunshine, blue skies, flowers coming into full bloom. In fact, it was three days – including today – but given that I spent my day inside, I only really count Saturday and Sunday.
And just to show how deprived we are, it was the talk of our office this morning. And, I’d bet money on the fact that it was the talk of almost every other office in Portland this morning. Across town, conversations went something like this:
How was your weekend? It was wonderful! How could it not have been with that weather??
I know, I know. I spent all weekend outside doing XX…
Even better, if we were to be granted two days in a row of sunny, “warm” weather (low to mid-60s), I was delighted that it happened the weekend of Ian’s first t-ball game on Saturday morning and Easter on Sunday.
A few months ago my friend at work who is a former stay-at-home-mom (and in the process of becoming a single mom) asked me if I ever felt guilty about the time I spend at work away from my kids. It took me approximately .53 seconds to answer, “No.”
Having been through the stay-at-home mom (SAHM) routine longer than I originally intended made me 185% certain that I am not SAHM material. I refuse to feel guilty about saying that I don’t want to spend 24/7 with my children. I need another outlet. Some don’t. I do. It makes me a better mother. That, I know. To each their own.
It helps that I have a job that fulfills me, and that both of my children are in places that both Jeff and I feel at peace with in terms of knowing that it fulfills their needs. One day not too long ago I left work a little early and picked Ian up from after-school care. His greeting: “Mommy, why are you here early today? I didn’t get to finish playing…” And while Elena often greets us very enthusiastically, we don’t leave the building before she proactively hugs every teacher in sight who bid her farewell by name. She’s happy, and that makes us happy. However, had my friend asked me that same question earlier this evening, for the first time since I’ve been back to work, I may have hesitated with my answer.
As part of my effort to re-engage in normal life at the beginning of 2012, I decided to sign up to volunteer in Ian’s classroom. It’s just one half-morning a month, but makes me feel like I’m doing something to contribute to his education and attempting to get to know his teacher a little better. It also helps in the motherhood guilt department. Of course, it might have been nice if I had started that in September, but frankly with all we had going on, at that point I was lucky to make it to work every day. Plus, better late than never, right?
So, Friday was my first volunteer gig – actually for a special event. His class was having a parade through the school to recreate the dragon dance that is part of the lantern festival for Chinese New Year, followed by a little class party with “traditional” Chinese fare: tea, fried rice, a fortune cookie and a piece of mango candy. Some other parents and I helped set up for the party, serve the kids and clean up. Ian was really excited that I was there in his classroom, which alone made the whole thing worth it.
Every Monday night Ian comes home with two new books that he checked out at the library that day. This week he brought home two books from the “Fly Guy” early reading series so he could “practice his reading,” he told us. I noted (to myself) that this was a great improvement over last week when he brought home some Star Wars chapter book that looked like it was for a teenager. I digress.
So, last night I casually pointed to the books as I passed by and told Ian we’d have to sit down with them “soon.” Translated: I don’t want to do it right now, but it’s on my good-mother-to-do list. At which point he said, “Well, I’m already on chapter three of this one!” “Oh, did you read some while you were in the library?” “Yeah,” he says. Okay, I thought. That’s nice.
Then…wait a second…that’s more than nice. You read! A book! On your own! “Ian,” I said, “I think that’s the first time that you’ve sat down and read something all by yourself, isn’t it?” A big smile engulfs his entire face: “Yes! It is!” He was so impressed with himself that a few minutes later he apparently decided he no longer needed me. He plopped down with the book and began reading out loud to us on his own.
Wow, I think we’ve just about got ourselves a real live reader. I love it.
I started yoga again last Tuesday night as part of my return to normal life. I had taken a hiatus when everything else took over, so it was really wonderful to get back to it. As time passes I recognize more and more the benefits of taking an hour and a half of my week to take deep breaths, stretch my body and focus on just being in the moment. Or, that’s the idea at least. It doesn’t always work but hey, at least I’m trying!