On vacation I watched Dexter play with his cousin. Like really, truly play. Running and giggling and gasping for breath from laughing so hard play. It was the first time that I've seen him play with another kid like that. When did that baby turn into a boy? A boy that gives hugs and steals cookies (they were thin mints, can you blame him?). And then I thought how long has he been this boy? What does his life look like in between the time that I say goodbye in the morning and hello in the afternoon?
I have a bit of sadness. Fleeting sadness. Sadness with peaks and valleys. When I watched him on vacation I wondered if he'd been doing this for weeks at daycare. I find that what everyone has said about it all going too fast is a heartbreaking truth. And the reality is that I am missing some of it or catching it in reruns. This is my plight as a working mother.
It's something that has snuck up on me because honestly, I didn't get that feeling of what am I missing when I went back to work after maternity leave. I totally knew what I was missing back then-bottles, diapers and sleep schedules. Exciting stuff. But now? Well, now is a whole different picture. Our sitter told us he says "amen" after they say grace at lunch. I'm missing "amen".
So what am I to do? I'm not staying at home, I can't stop time and I can't tell Dexter to save his "amens" for me. So I watch. I watch his personality unfold, his clothes become too small. I make believe that he's never done anything or said anything for the first time until he is in the confines of our home. I savor our mornings, afternoons and weekends together. These things I can do.