Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sunsets and Fireplaces

I apologize ahead of time for the ramble:

Picking up P from daycare is always a little chaotic there's usually a handful of other parents, kids tracking down shoes and jackets, and anxiety about getting home. There are constant wheels turning, dinner plans forming, laundry loads being considered, and an overall reassessment of the day. We pop off encouraging remarks in an effort to hurry the kids along, so we're a step closer to the car, to home, to working on all the chaos we think about. I alwasy give P a quick hug, but not much more, we hold hands on the way to the car and talk, but its constant chatter, constant thought, and quite a few distractions.

Today a father walked in shortly after I did, that made me rethink the pickup circus. He came in quietly and stood at the back of the room. His daughter (8 or 9 maybe)  saw him, and immediatly walked over to hug him. Not a quick squeeze, a real solid 10 second embrace. A true I missed you  kind of hug. They had me captivated, even in the chaos among the other children, the scattered art projects, and the noise, they took those 10 seconds to really greet eachother. She gathered her coat, he signed her out and they left just before us.

I chatted with P on the way to the car about her day, tomorrow's field trip, and dinner. We passed the same father and daughter quickly. They were sitting on the bench out side of school, watching the sunset. The sky was a brilliant pink today at 5:20 and there they were, honestly enjoying it. There were a few comments, it's not quite Barbie pink and it would be wonderful to draw something like that. But not much more. They sat in silence, without the dinner timer ticking, without the rush to get home, they just sat and enjoyed. As we pulled away I was jealous and disappointed that P and I weren't sitting there. That by the time we took the 4 minute drive home, it wouldn't be the same sunset, that we were missing it.

I don't want to miss it. The sunset, the greeting, any of it. I want to be calmer with P, less of the working mom that can't slow down for fear of losing pace. I want to sit and not miss the perfectly pink sunset and hear what P thinks of it. Tonight we sat by the fire. No TV and I even kicked the dogs out and just sat there. I didn't ask her questions or prompt her opinion or get out the art supplies so I could force encourage her to express herself. (Not that I'd ever do that).

We sat and she talked and I listened, she talked a bit about her day, the story they read, what she liked in her lunch... then she talked about the fire and the flames. How it licks the top and the little pieces sneak out beneath the wood. She was observing and exploring. This made my  heart swell and hurt a little at the same time. We should do this more.

I've talked about mom guilt before. The realizing you can do better and seeing another parent do things better, the twinge of not being the perfect parent you always wanted to be. I have a great distaste for it, and the lingering questions it makes run around in my head. However on the other foot I have always thought that there is much to be learned from others. That we should observe and mimic habits we appreciate. So, even with the possibility of feeling like a less perfect parent, I wanted to share this sporadic thought process. 

I hope you watch fires, and sunsets, and let the children in your life explain what they see and feel. Its a beautiful moment that I hope to have more often.

1 comment:

  1. I think ALL working parents have that guilt. It's ok and enjoy what time you CAN spend together!