Yesterday was Sarah’s birthday. I had hoped to write in this blog then, but work got in the way. Which makes me wonder if now, rather than the Observer, I’m the Executive Mom who puts work before her kids. Yuck.
I actually don’t think so. I actually think I’m pretty balanced about it. Brian might disagree, and he does occasionally ask why I’m coming home so late when I call leaving the office again after 7 PM. But I do try really hard to get to the appointments and be there on the big days, and say prayers every night and kiss and hug both girls every day. Is that enough?
Yesterday, I came home after a pitch rather than going back to the office. I had left the house too early to see Sarah, so I wanted to see her in the afternoon – not just for the bedtime routine. We needed to do cake and candles and presents before she was bouncing off the walls and telling me she had to eat AGAIN just so she wouldn’t have to go to bed just yet.
I had an idea! I called Brian as I neared the house, knowing Catherine was in PT. “What does Sarah do during PT?” I asked. “We usually play in another room,” he said. “Get Sarah ready. I’m going to take her to The Park.” Both of us knew this was a special birthday idea.
Sarah loves The Park. “Park. Park. Park,” she says as soon as the word is uttered. She stands near the door and repeats herself, “Park. Park. Park.” It’s sort of like a puppy. She loves the slides and running in an open football field the best. She likes the swings for a bit – longer and longer each time, actually. But she always tells me when she’s “all done” on the swings. She is never “all done” on the slides or running and twirling in utter freedom.
I didn’t even take time to change from my pitch clothes. Daylight was slipping away, and we needed to go quickly. We ran out the door and headed directly to The Park.
Less than 3 minutes later, I got The Call.
They needed to talk with me about a presentation we have today. Work. Sarah’s Birthday. The Park. Really? I suppose I could have said no. And that’s what the magazines all say a woman is supposed to do sometimes. Was this one of those times? Should it have been?
I pushed Sarah in the toddler swing until she was “All done.” I had to make my colleagues wait when I got her out of the swing because her feet got stuck. I told them where I was, so they had to put up with a bad cell signal, the other screaming kids, Sarah’s cries when the swing hit her in the lip at one point, me disappearing for a bit to pick her up and give her a hug and kiss her tears goodbye. By the time I finished the call, it was getting dark and cold and I had only a few minutes to sit on the big swings and hold her and repeatedly sing “Happy Birthday, dear Sarah…” as we swung into the twilight sky.
I hope I will forever remember that late afternoon swing. Sarah never told me she was “All done.”