By all accounts it was a successful day. I left the house at 7:30am, leaving my family with all the required bottles, lunches and school items needed to get through the day. I had time to pick up bagels on the way to work to sustain my lab and boost morale through our busy day. We had visitors coming in from Ohio to do an experiment and that was non-stop action from 8 til 2. At 3, I had an important conference call with researchers from all over the world (someone on the line from Australia - it was 6am there - and from Denmark where it was 11pm). The call lasted two hours and by then it was time to make a mad dash to get these two...
Our daycare is open til 6pm but if I get there much past 5, C & Iz might be the last ones there. Is there anything worse than picking up your kid from day care to find they are the last ones there? I imagine Charlie's face as he watches other moms and dads come to the classroom and get his friends. Each time, his face hopeful as he looks to see who is at the door. Charlie is old enough now that he looks for me at a certain time of the day and if I'm later than usual, he knows. This was all I could think about as I raced across town.
Our daycare isn't very far from home or work, but when you are running late and feel desperate to see those little faces, it can feel like it is a million miles away. I swear I hit every traffic light. There was way more traffic than usual. Where did all these people and cars come from out of nowhere and why were they all in my way?? (I might've screamed out loud at a stop light, with the car windows closed, alone with my frustration. If that sounds crazy, then maybe I just imagined doing it). As I crept along in traffic, all I could think about was Charlie's face, his lower lip puffed out, his eyes searching for me. Izzy is only a couple weeks into daycare and still not sure of her new teachers. She has no concept of time, I reminded myself. But surely she will be aware of the quiet in her room with all the other babies gone for the night.
Charlie was on the playground when I arrived, holding a teacher's hand and looking towards the parking lot. He had been asking for mom, wondering where I was. He was trying hard not to cry. Then I had to tell him to wait a few more minutes - the school has a policy about not letting the older kids in the infant rooms, so I had to go get Izzy first and then pick up Charlie. More waiting. And at that point the tears just wouldn't stay in.
It was just one day. I kissed their sweet cheeks good-bye earlier that morning. But it felt more like a week. I hate feeling like my kids get a raw deal on my account. I know many moms have it much worse and work long hours or multiple jobs out of necessity. I feel for them and wish there was another option.
Yesterday was just one long day and today I'll leave a little early and take them to a park to play. Then it will be the weekend and I'll have uninterrupted time with them. Come Monday, we'll start all over again as I have a long day scheduled and I won't get home til after they are alseep. I can't avoid those days all together but I can make the most of the time I have with C and Iz every day. And send along extra hugs and kisses to get