Man, our house is a mess! No matter how many hours I spend cleaning, or times I empty the dishwasher, or vacuum, there always seems to be more dust on the tables, dishes in the sink, & crumbs on the floor. I so often find myself thinking “there just isn’t enough time to get it all done”! The laundry is endless and cat hair is covering the couches and there is leftover orzo on the bathroom floor from Warner’s dinner last night. I quickly ran him to the bathroom, but all of the little pasta from under his chin or in his lap came with us. I was too busy taking pictures of him on his big boy potty to clean up every little piece, so it will probably get hard and crusty- “then it will be easier to vacuum anyways”, I told myself. Today, I found myself thinking “there just isn’t enough time” again. This time, I had just laid Warner down for his nap- he was falling asleep in my arms- he will be out in no time! Then I put dinner in the crockpot, I took out the trash, put our scraps in the compost bin out back, ran to the bathroom, & then checked the baby monitor. Still awake! Ugh, he probably pooped, so I went to check his diaper, all while checking the clock, too, to make sure I’d have enough time to get the house in order before he woke up. It was 11:36, so “if Warner sleeps two hours, I should be able to get a ton done”, I thought!
I walked into his nursery and he was standing up, smiling, & excited to see me! I peek in the back of his diaper- CLEAN! He reached his dimpled hands up and I picked him up. Immediately he laid his little head in my shoulder, so I sat down in his rocker. He started playing with my necklace that my grandma gave me for my 19th birthday. I never take it off. It has a thick gold chain and 4 diamonds in the shape of a square. He is silent as he turns it over in his hand. It reminds me of when I was little and I would lay on my grandmas chest and play with her necklace.
I smelled his sweet hair, still fragrant from his bath last night. As I sat in his rocker, holding him like a baby on my chest, I wondered how long he would let me do this for. How long do I have before he doesn’t want to lay on my chest or be rocked to sleep? A month? A year? 5 years?
My own mom passed away when she was 39. I was 13 years old. I think to myself, “if she were here now, I’d love nothing more than to snuggle up with her in a big recliner and lay my head on her chest and to smell her scent one more time”. Thirteen years with her wasn’t enough. I try to imagine what length of time and how many years WOULD have been enough. She would be in her mid-fifties if she were alive today. “Would that have been enough time”, I wonder? No, I don’t think so. We still want to have another baby- I would have definitely wanted her to meet both of my children. This scenario continued and I listed reasons in my head for why 10, 20, 50 more years wouldn’t have been enough time with her.
Then I start to do the same for myself and wonder how many years from now would I be satisfied with before my time comes? Again, all the way up until 100 years old, I have reasons for why I wouldn’t be ready to leave my son. I want to see him graduate college, get married, have babies, be successful, and have grand-babies. When we brought Warner home from the NICU in September of 2017, I had planned to stay home with him for 6 months, to get him through flu season without having to go to daycare, and then go back to work.
Six months came and went and during a car ride in January 2017, Jordan asked me how much time home with Warner would be enough? Would I be ready to go back to work in the spring? No, I don’t think so. “I definitely think by his first birthday I’ll be ready”, I told him. That seemed like plenty of time. He questioned what my plan was if we had another baby. “Wouldn’t you feel obligated to stay home with another baby for as long as you stayed home with Warner”, he asked? Yes, he was probably right. Jordan was feeling a lot of pressure as the only provider and I had always said I was going to go back to work after we had a baby. Fast forward to February and we were out to dinner for my birthday and the topic came up again. I had been interviewing for jobs and had outlandish salary expectations, telling myself that would make it worth it to put Warner in day care. I was beating around the bush; his first birthday was only a few months away and I wasn’t ready to leave him. (This was a wine tasting dinner with 6 courses, mind you, so my emotions were high and, since I was still breastfeeding, tolerance was low!)
Jordan asked again if I would be ready by his first birthday in June & I lost it. I cried and told him I wasn’t ready and how I didn’t have enough time with my mom. I didn’t want to look back and regret not having spent every single second with Warner that I possibly could. I told Jordan I would go back to work if that’s what he wanted, but “what if I die when I’m 39 like mom did and I regret not being with him”?
Whew, at least I didn’t act morbid & crazy, right. 😉 Our waiter came in kind of shifty and awkward because I was swollen and sniffling and dropped off our next course & quickly left. Tensions were high, I thought.
“I don’t want you to go back to work either”, Jordan told me. EXSQUEEZE ME, WHAT?!? Fast forward to now: Looking back now at that moment, Jordan had given me the gift of time and that is something I will never be able to repay him for. Warner is almost 19 months old and I’ve spent very few days away from him. I still tell Jordan how happy I am that I don’t get to miss any of Warner’s “firsts”. I was there when he said mama, when he crawled for the first time, and last week when he peed in the big boy potty. I got to breastfeed him until he was 16 months old. I am the one that gets to suction his nose when he’s snotty and give him baths after he gets sick. I get to experience every tantrum, giggle, and new realization. This morning I got to see how excited he was when he gave the kitty “nice pets” and kiss his hands when the naughty kitty bit him for the first time.
While I may not ever feel like I have enough time, I am so grateful for the time I have with him now. On my death bed, I won’t be thinking about the crusty orzo on the bathroom floor in 2019, I’ll be thinking about Warner playing with my necklace on my chest- something I will forever make time for.
Love & sappiness,
Sarah!! I love this. It is so beautifully written. You are so talented (and gorgeous!) Snaps, girl!