I got to spend the day working from home yesterday with my little boy. It was challenging for him because he was bored and I did actually have to get some work done, but we also enjoyed it. We were able to have all three meals together, which otherwise only happens two days a month, on the two Saturdays I have custody of him. We were eating lunch and he said, “You should be a home mom,” meaning a stay-at-home-mom. The guilt really never ends in that I wasn’t able to do this when he was younger. I pointed out that I need money to pay our bills and that’s why I work, not because I want to be away from him, and that while I wished I could have stayed home with him when he was really little, he had a great time at preschool and now is school-aged, and what on earth would I do all day without him there to keep me company? He pointed out that he would be a terrible home school student because he doesn’t like listening to me, which I thought was pretty funny. But he does listen. He is now able to operate the washer by himself and is becoming much more of a help to me because he knows how to do things and is physically capable. He holds the door for me without prompting, most of the time anyway, and will pick up a grocery bag and schlep it inside without me asking him to. This is progress. Teaching him to be a man, to be self-sufficient, and to take care of others.
We did get the laundry done as well, at the lunch break, and folded and put away before the day was completely over, which never seems to happen in a single day. After lunch, he curled up on the couch with a book and fell asleep, a thing that never would have happened when he was just a little bit younger. I was grateful for the break from the constant bugging me about what to do and could I play with him or the noise of his playing alone, but also wistful at how quickly he is growing up, that he now tucks himself in for a nap on the couch with a book.
He’s getting to be someone I can take with me instead of someone I have to find a caretaker for, as he is more physically and emotionally capable of dealing with change and unfamiliar situations. On Sunday, I took him to a weekly literary salon I’ve been participating in for a few weeks, and he was happy to disappear for a couple of hours and play video games with the couple’s children, who he did not know. I kept an ear open for crying or a thump of him getting hurt, looked for him on the stairs feeling insecure in an unfamiliar place, but he was fine, only appearing downstairs with the other children to secure juice and cookies and popcorn. This Saturday, I’ll take him with me downtown to the women’s march, a solidarity march being held at the same day/time as the march in Washington. This may not be as impactful, but will be much cheaper and easier for us to attend.
As a reward for a mostly-inactive and somewhat boring day yesterday, I took him to the rec center with me last night, and we played basketball for quite awhile. He’s got zero formal skills and refuses to listen to any instruction or training, but he likes shooting baskets and is nonplussed by the hoards of other, bigger children who fill up the gym, playing more competitively.
Then we came home and had some tacos and watched the Kennedy Center Honors while I did my leg workout. He told me the Eagles is his favorite band and Led Zeppelin is his second favorite. This is likely not true, it’s just music he recognizes because I play it so much, and certainly won’t hold as true for any long length of time, but it pleased me nonetheless.
He’s such a great kid, and I’m so lucky. I’m glad we lived life fully yesterday.