After 18 years at home, the reasons why I’m so grateful I made the decision to forgo work while the children are little and very dependent are not the reasons that I would have ever thought. The first reasons that would come to mind are those big milestones-first smile, first steps, first words-those type of “I never want to forget it” things.
That sounds all nice and warm and fuzzy, but to tell the truth, I can’t remember any of those…I’m sure it’s marked in baby books somewhere. I DO know the last two took their first steps to Grandma and Dad respectively. Traitors.
The times when I have been so thankful that I made the decision to stay home and thought, “Oh God, what if I wasn’t here? What if the daycare, the nanny, the sitter was here instead?” …those are the times that have cemented any doubt in my mind that home is the best place to be.
This last week or so has been a time when I think, “Thank God it’s me.” Patrick has been SO difficult. He’s such a sweet, happy fellow, but this week….I’ll tell you…I don’t know if it’s teeth, or the kids being gone at school, or just a new little stage, but he wants ME almost every minute. He’s 30 pounds and it’s not easy lugging this kid around. If he happens to be settled and busy it just means he’s up to no good. He’ll find a pen or a pencil laying around-my walls his canvas…or he stands on his tippy toes and fishes one out of the drawer and just writes everywhere before I even get a chance to stop him. He’s hurt me, physically, 10 times this week. Slammed a door shut on my ankle, given me serious love bites, head butted me (the kind that make your teeth click!), all on accident of course. He’s smooshed my lipstick, dumped bags of cereal when given a second. Crinkled my new magazine, ran his stroller into my ankles. When we went on walks, they were as far from enjoyable as you could get. Down every one’s driveway, in the street constantly, in and out of the stroller every minute, mad as heck when he didn’t get his way and we headed home. Tons of whining. Tons.
Do you get the picture? Tested every ounce of my patience. Very unlikeable, but I love him.
That’s not to say a break, a fresh set of hands, is not welcome once in awhile. But if I left him all day with someone, they would seriously dislike this usually sweet good-natured boy. No doubt in my mind.
It’s the little things like this…the things that come up once in awhile, the bouts of colic, the annoying stages, the private bathroom dilemmas, the runny noses, just a bad days (or weeks)…those are REALLY the reasons I stay home. I want ME and his father-the two people who love him more than anyone else in the world- to be the one that takes care of all those things. The hard things-the “no fun” stuff.
Love is, above all else, the gift of oneself.