Dear Trombone and Fresco,
Last week I got an email from my former supervisor, offering me my job back for a year while my maternity leave replacement goes on maternity leave. (Office Chair of Procreative DoomPanic strikes again.) It was unfortunate timing, as I was having One Of Those Days with you, children, and it took every ounce of strength in my cold, tired fingers to type that little word, No.
No. I will not come back to scheduled (and unscheduled) coffee breaks. No I will not come back to slack days spent surfing the great ocean of knowledge that is the Internet. No I will not be indulging in adult – if childLIKE – conversations daily, in the (relative) peace and tranquility that is public transit, in the security of a paycheque that I must then sign over to daycare that may or may not meet your needs. In the order of a desk all mine where the paperclips are where I left them yesterday and if I run out, I must order more and fill out 8 forms to do so, a telephone that I have to answer even if I don’t feel like talking to anyone, an email inbox that overflows with ridiculous requests that I must fulfill, a water cooler whose water jugs are apparently MY responsibility.
And that, children, is how you know you really hated your job. If, after almost two years not doing it, you still remember the minutae that made you want to slit your own throat with a letter opener, you really hated your job and it is not nearly time to go back to it.
Trombone, I sincerely hope that someday you get to be a Guitar RockStar, which is your greatest dream of all time. Even though sometimes you freak me out with your level of obsession with guitars, to the point where you are strumming any and all objects that find their way into your hands, even while people are talking and trying to engage you in play, I am going to encourage you because obsession + talent + encouragement = making your dreams come true, somehow, somewhere.
Fresco, it seems as though you are keen to dominate the universe. I support this as well, although I am still going to make sure you do not injure anyone in the process, including yourself. I must add that you are a skilled orator and singer and that thing you do where you cover your ears while you sing a song, sort of like in the We Are the World video, is adorable to the point of making me want to videotape you and show it to strangers in the grocery store.
But children, even if you decide you want to be professional hockey players or salesmen for colonic irrigation companies or reality TV stars, though I have my doubts that reality TV will still be around in 20 years, if it makes you smile, if it makes your heart beat faster, if it makes you want to do it at the exclusion of everything else around you, I support you. I hope for you that you need never feel, “…but it pays really well,” is a justification for spending 8 hours a day doing something that makes your skin crawl. I am lucky to know several people who found the thing – That Thing – they wanted to do and are so happy doing it they don’t even look at the pay stub. I hope you never have to look at a pay stub to make yourself feel better about the time you spent working.
As we discussed the other day, I do not get paid to look after you. From time to time I do want a pay stub to look at. Usually when you get up before 6 am. Sometimes I wish I could appeal to my union for more humane working conditions. This house smells bad sometimes. Bad enough to be toxic. But then I wasn’t specific. When I used to dream about my ideal job, I never said, gosh I hope my ideal job doesn’t involve bad smells or sleep deprivation. It’s important to be specific, kids.
I never dreamed of being a mother. I never dreamed I would be a mother. Those are two different dreams that a lot of people have. Yet this job of being your mother, your primary caregiver, fulfills so many of my dreams; the one about helping people, the one about having fun at work, the one about getting to sing as loud as I want, the one about making people laugh.
I love being your mother. It makes my heart beat faster. It makes me smile. It is as close to a dream job as I have come, so far. Which is not to say that I will not want to pursue other dreams in a (few) year(s). Right now, spending every day with you is the right thing for me.
Always & forever,
PS: Seriously, though? Sleep till 7. Or the Christmas Elmo gets it.