Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Sitting on a bench, looking at the moon

As anyone in the Northeast knows, today was a beeee-u-teee-full day. Amazing. Gorgeous.

It was in the mid-70s with a mild breeze and felt more like early June than late March. The bright blue sky was broken up by only the most occasional wisp of a cloud. I swear the daffodils grew five inches today and about two-dozen new crocuses popped their heads up to say hello.

I had a work-related meeting in the afternoon, but I spent all morning outside with the girls. We wore short sleeves and summer shoes. We kicked the ball around the yard, played hide-and-seek, dug in the sandbox and walked down to the pond to check out the dozens of tiny frogs chirping happily in the sun. Then we ate our lunch on the back porch and giggled as the cat begged for scraps.

Then it was time for me to join the business world. I showered, dried my hair and put on makeup. I wore a dressy cardigan, pumps and a skirt. I drove to my meeting, shook hands with some very smart people and sat in a conference room brainstorming and discussing a plan of action for the next two hours. I sipped my bottled water and forgot about the beautiful day outside. I left the meeting with my mind buzzing about my ever-increasing to-do list.

When I got home, it was after 5 p.m. and the air was cooler, but still pleasant. Loaf was napping, but Peanut was outside with her dad. I really should get some work done, I thought. But instead, I changed into a pair of comfortable pants and a t-shirt and joined her outside.

“Let’s sit on the bench, Mommy,” she suggested.

We sat cross-legged facing each other and I asked her about the rest of the day. She went to school and played outside. She sang some songs and played with her friend Mylie.

Then she sidled up next to me, and we sat quietly with our arms around each other.

“Look Mommy, the moon,” she said, pointing up to the sky.

“Yes there it is!” I answered, surprised to see the moon so bright in the sky so early in the evening.

“I really like sitting on this bench looking up at the moon with you,” she said snuggling even closer.

“Me too,” I said, tears rimming my eyes. “Me too.”

My God, I thought to myself. I almost missed this wonderful moment—a moment that will probably never occur in exactly the same way again.

This balancing act I conduct every week between my part-time job and my full-time children is not easy. One part of my life bleeds constantly into the other: I sneak away to log onto e-mail the instant my kids are occupied. I call the pediatrician to schedule appointments on the days I’m in the office. Lately work has been bleeding into my mom time much more than I’d like and while I don’t quite have a good answer on how to deal with that, I have to find some way to regain better balance.

I have no idea how many moments I’ve already missed because something more “important” was going on when the reality is there is no place in the world I’d have rather been this afternoon than sitting on a bench, looking at the moon.

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