In a typical week, as I wrote about on Oct. 25th, my children see me rushing to get ready for work in the mornings. I stop to eat breakfast with the family, finish my make up and then I'm off to work until 6 or 7. I get home just in time for the one or two hours before bedtime in which we try to fit in dinner, bath, book and bedtime cuddle.
On Friday's I come home at 2 and switch with husband, he leaves for work. Usually the kids are napping and wake up around 4 to find me busily working on the weekly meal plan and budget. I stop to put out a snack for them and am then right back to the computer to finalize plans. Our weekend shopping trips depend on this first step. By 6 I stop to make dinner. By 7 we get ready for bed. By 8pm I'm back on the computer.
They have me all day Saturday and Sunday. They see a busy mom doing laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning and a little play mixed in. It's the life of a working mom.
They've also seen mom travel to Asia for 6 weeks out of this year + 1 week to Europe. That's almost 2 months of gone time.
So when the opportunity came up to let little Sam travel to Texas with his Mema, I thought to myself, hey - a chance to reconnect with Charlotte, like we were before our precious son arrived! Now, I don't mean this to sound in any way like we are anxious to get rid of our little guy. He's an extraordinarily happy boy! He makes every day an absolute joy to be around. In contrast, my daughter has been struggling with issues like constant sadness , anger and not eating. To the point my husband has seriously considered therapy. We thought, perhaps if we can give her undivided attention for a few weeks, we can figure out how to make her happy.
The first weekend was a disaster. Screaming fits and everything I suggested she did the exact opposite. Charlotte, come sit on your bed so I can put your shoes on. No, I'll sit on the trunk. Okay that's not a big deal. But when I decided to take our dead plants to the trash in our trusty red wagon, she walked along next to me screaming to go home, she didn't want to visit the trash. Now the walk is like 5 minutes max! She's used to half hour walks! She finally tripped and fell in front of the wagon, likely making it look to any stranger that she'd thrown herself in front in an attempt to stop me. Bewildered I picked up my sobbing child and turned around, dog leash in one hand also tugging wagon back to the house.
Husband came home that night and we compared notes of his first week home with her, after Sam left. We thought, maybe she misses him and her world is upside down and she doesn't know how to express it? She had been acting off all week but she had been sick with a cold.
Sunday we couldn't take her to church due to her persistent cough so to make up for it (she loves her Sunday school class) we promised a pony ride. She was thrilled and enjoyed the experience tremendously. Of course she came down with an earache later that evening which put a huge damper on the rest of the day but at least we started well!
Monday she had no more pain from the ear ache! I was home from work, sick with a cold so we spent the day with her. I noticed by this point she had become very loving, she would walk up to me and give me long hugs. Still would not eat much, eating is a consistent problem with this one but she was cheerful about it.
Tuesday I realized my cold had developed into bronchitis so we did the rounds of doctors. First mine where she was an absolute angel and got to hear baby girls heart beat for the first time as my OB-GYN consolidated check up with bronchitis care. We then went to Charlotte's pediatrician who diagnosed double ear infection but no bronchitis. Prescriptions for both mom and daughter. Dad went off to Target to get them filled. We stayed home to eat lunch. I tried to get some work done on the computer but I noticed her getting frustrated so stopped and went outside to sit while she played until dad got home. Our deal that once he got home it was nap time. She responded well to these conditions.
Wednesday morning, I sat outside with my devotions before she got up. As I sat there the door opened and she came out and just stood next to me where I hugged her for more than 5 minutes. Not moving, not talking. Just holding my daughter. She finally stopped and smiled up at me the most beautiful smile and I knew, I just knew we had reconnected. The business of life was not in this moment, it was me and her. We were completely relaxed and happy.
If I can only hang onto the lessons learned from this week of sickness as I go back into the work world, I think I can find balance.