So the other night at bedtime, I was tucking Jesse in and our conversation went a bit like this:
ME: Goodnight, I love you.
JESSE: Why do you always say that? Why are you always saying you love me?
ME: Because I do, and i want you to know you are the most important thing to me.
JESSE: Really? (dramatic pause) Because I thought WORK was.
At which point I attempted with both hands to force my heart back into the GAPING CHEST WOUND his words had left.
I told him yesterday that I needed to fly out of town on business today, and that I would be leaving Realllllllly Early but I would be home at bedtime. At 2:30 am he appeared beside our bed and asked if I was leaving yet, before jumping in beside me. At 4:45 he was awake again, watching me get ready in the darkness, and at 5:30 he was clinging to my neck and crying hysterically that he did not want me to leave.
At 6:30 am I was on a plane and sobbing. I was the woman in Seat B2 that sobbed for two hours. Silent sobbing--but the shoulder shuddering, tray table shaking, snot dripping onto your blouse kind of crying nontheless. Which must have made the other passengers on the plane feel VERY CONFIDENT AND HAPPY. And all poor Kip could do was to just keep handing me beverage napkin after beverage napkin.
My two hours of sobbing also completely clogged my left ear and covered my contact lenses with protein deposits, so that when I exited the plane, I was almost completely blind and half deaf. Not to mention VERY PRETTY with my puffy swollen face and snot covered blouse.
So Kip changed our return flight home so that I could be back by 7 pm, which I was. Bearing LOTS OF GIFTS. Because really, nothing says "I feel totally guilty about working instead of staying home and raising my children" like a big bag of overpriced airport toys.
But here's the thing Jesse Bear-should you find this post in cyber space some day far in the future. I have never loved work more than you. But sometimes work has been easier. Sometimes I knew more about what the heck I was doing at work than what i was doing at home. Work has never demanded from me some of the things that being your Mom has asked of me. And here's the thing: I LOVE WORK. One of my greatest hopes for you is that you will see that work can be a joyful thing--that you will find something you love to do and do it with all your heart and soul. That you will remember that WORK IS A GOOD THING. So I hope you will forgive me, and know that I tried my best to juggle it all and to be a good mom. I hope you know that I was ALWAYS CONFLICTED. And that even when I HAD to leave you sometimes, that it verily broke my heart each time.