Her children rise up and bless her.
stampede past, each clamoring to get the first hug, the first
kiss, all squawking at once.
"I want a
"Look what I made
"Did you bring us
Daddy throws his
arms wide and draws three squirming bodies off the floor.
Squeals and giggles abound as he spins them around, returns
them to the floor and starts chasing them in every
No more quiet
house. No more bathtime. No more Mama. Itís as if Iíve
disappeared into the woodwork Iíve been trying to find time to
He deserves this,
I tell myself. He works extra hard so I can stay home with the
kids. This is his reward after a long day at the
Who am I kidding?
It hurts to see them shower affection on David, after Iíve
been here, all day long, changing diapers, wiping noses and
mopping spills. Iím the one whoís not allowed to have a
complete thought, stay seated through a meal or enjoy an
uninterrupted phone conversation.
Iím in charge of
work, worry and discipline; heís in charge of fun, frolic and
fantasy. Iím the maid, the cook, the school marmóand the
policeman; heís the grand marshal of the nightly daddy
Of course, we made
this decision together, putting my career on hold to be here
for the kids. I never doubted it was the right choice for us,
and I still donít. At times, however, itís hard to watch David
shower, dress and disappear while I stay home, as steady and
loyal as a lap dog. Just once, Iíd like to walk in the door to
I know Iím being
silly. Think of the things he misses out on, things I wouldnít
trade for the most glamorous job on the planet. He wasnít here
for Mollyís first joke, when at a year old she reached into a
basket of toys, pulled out a dumbbell-shaped rattle and held
it across the bridge of her nose like Mommyís glasses. He
didnít hear her belly laugh then or mine when Hewson at two
strode through the back door naked except for a pair of muddy
rubber bootsó smiling ear-to-earóto hand me a bouquet of
ragweed. Heís not here when Molly hurts herself, and before I
can reach her, Haley has rushed over to console her. Or when I
offer Hewson a cookie, and he wonít accept it unless I give
him one for each of his "sissies" as well.
I can hear the
Daddy Fan Club in the bedroom, fighting over who gets to put
his shoes in the closet and who may toss his shirt in the
hamper. I donít see anyone wrestling me for my dishrag. But as
I clear the table for dinner, I catch glimpses of our day
togetherómasks we constructed from paper plates, flowers
plucked on our morning walk, a mountain of library books
because we had to have just one more.
Would I trade all
of that for a paycheck and a little office
As the daddy
procession heads back my way, I have to admit the trade-offs
are worth it. He may have lunch out with coworkers, but I get
peanut-butter-and-jelly kisses. He might exchange clever
repartee with clients, but I get to snuggle up and read Good
Night, Moon "just one more time."
Let him have his
parade. Iíll celebrate each dayís small
After all, those
are perks no benefits package can offer.
© Chicken Soup for the
Mothers of Preschooler's Soul