52 Weeks of Brotherhood, Week 23
Sometimes the list of things to do grows beyond all reasonable comprehension. Sometimes it looms and pokes and boasts and pokes. Sometimes you have to miss a baseball game in favor of other commitments. It’s usually during that game that your emerging baseball lover will hit his first double. It is then that the crushing weight of working mom guilt washes over you. Kind words will come from other parents: “I have learned that you can’t be at them all.” Truth doesn’t always absolve the guilt, doesn’t lessen the sting because later, the question comes, “Why do you have to work so much, Mommy?”
Sometimes you wake on a Sunday morning and barely get the kids to church on time and, just before service begins, you take a look at the weather and vow to ignore the laundry that piled during a hectic week and the dishes still in the sink from the night before. You rush home from church without telling them what your plans might be. You run around, finding swimming trunks and new beach chairs and sunblock and flip flops and beach towels and buckets and all of the beach things — that you’ll have to rinse out and clean immediately afterward to pack for vacation but, good gravy, you just need to escape with your boys and be for an afternoon.
And sometimes for three hours on a somewhat cloudy, not as warm as originally predicted, still beautiful Sunday, your boys are verbally and outwardly grateful for your impromptu un-planning of their day. And for three hours, they get along and play all of the things and splash and tunnel and dig and run and swim and come up with games and eat snacks and love on each other and on you. They spill over with happy and joy. They thank you, umpteen billion times. You sit in your chair and re-read the same sentence in a book you dared to bring. Setting it down, you stare at the sky and close your eyes and let the almost-heat wash over you, giving thanks for the giggles in the distance, for the blessing of two boys who care that you spend time with them or not, who recognize that good fun comes after long work, who love and love and love.
On the way home, slightly sunkissed cheeks glow in the rearview mirror. “Mommy, that was the best surprise ever.”
If only all of parenting resulted in such a feeling, such a response. I’ll take what I can get.