The house is dark and quiet, my desk lamp is the only subtle glow and the only sounds audible are the heater blowing and my fat, black cat purring beside me as I type. To my left is the kids' play place. Reese's new play bassinet and high chair that she got for Christmas. Her new Bitty Baby 'Lizzie' is lying next to her as she now sleeps. Pierson's giant Batman Lego toy and remote control race cars, his Avenger toys scattered around.
Asa and I are both school teachers full time; Monday through Friday is spent loving other parents' children. Seven hours away from home, for myself, teaching eight boys how to respect and trust the world around them. There are all the main subjects of course; language arts, social studies, science and math. But I stand firm on my theory that if they don't know to love each other and treat each other with kindness, how to exist and thrive inside our school walls, then what will life look outside of them? During the work week, we are with other kids more than we are with our own. On an average work day I get to spend 4-4.5 hours with Pierson and Reese, total. I don't see them before I get to school and they go to bed at 7:30 or 8pm every night. Structure and routine has been very vital to managing a healthy, happy family so don't get me wrong, I love that part. But I miss my kids.
To anyone that asks me about being a teacher, I happily tell them it is the very best career I could image as a mother. I get paid holidays, winter breaks, summer break and don't forget those awesome and unexpected snow days. My kids aren't yet in school, thank God, but I imagine when they are I would love the career even more. I would have the same exact schedule as they will! The thing is, the more time I get with my children, the more I want. At two and three, their imaginations are exploding with crazy, cool new thoughts and questions. Their vocabulary is increasing and they say the funniest things. For instance Pierson's comment when he wanted to shower with me:
"Reese, you want to shower with Mom too?"
"Okay, Reese, no shower for you then. YOUR LOSS."
[When did he start saying YOUR LOSS?] I couldn't stop laughing. And her new thing is, "I think so!" when you ask her a question or she finishes talking about any topic. Tonight before bed we played quietly in her room where she has a toy kitchen (also a Christmas present). She made Asa and I cookies and hot chocolate and ABC's (spaghettios) and came over to kiss us in between. Pierson wanted to play a few minutes in his room with Avenger action figures so I set a timer, like we always do. When it went off, he said, "Okay, Mom. Time to get in bed." He picked a book, grabbed his cup of water, the tape player we listen to Lullabies on, and crawled under the covers. All of it was sweet. Just absolutely, positively, mom tears flowing, sweet. We go back to work after tomorrow. I'm excited to see my students and my awesome co-workers... And now is the time of year where we look forward to those said snow snows. Spring break will be here before we know it and then soon after, summer.
But tonight as I sit, trying to get comfortable under the fat cat who has moved himself to my lap, I feel many mixed emotions. I feel excitement for my kids' growing minds. For the fact that they are healthy and so happy, that they are obedient and learning to love Jesus. But with the excitement, I can't help but feel there is a part of my heart that keeps chipping. Someone else will create new memories with them five days a week. Someone else will make them lunch, sing them songs and put them down for naps. That someone won't be me, and therefore I will continue to play these memories on repeat, of the two weeks around the clock that we had together. I will hug them even tighter tomorrow and I will pray for the strength and dignity to walk this bittersweet trail of Motherhood.