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Working toward a different future

I watch my twelve-week-old son sleep in the middle of my bed. His belly rises and falls ever so slightly it sometimes looks like he’s a doll.

For the last twelve weeks, I have been with him most his waking moments. I’ve watched him learn to smile, laugh, and roll over. I’ve kissed his forehead as he’s done his baby push-ups against my chest. I’ve had countless conversations with him.

And now, it’s time to relinquish these moments to someone else. My heart breaks, but holds together at some seams knowing it’s still my arms that will rock him to sleep each night.

I remember a recent conversation with my husband. His Hollywood career pays little currently, but moves him closer toward his dreams of directing.

“So you’re okay with me going back?” He’s been offered a spot on a long-filming show. In Hollywood, that’s a very good thing.
“We’ve talked about this before. You know how I feel.”

“I know. But it’d help me to talk about it again.”

I sigh. “Here’s the thing. If you were still working on the sitcom year after year without anyone recognizing your talent, I wouldn’t be so keen on you going back. But now people are really seeing how awesome you are. You’ve got a bunch of people wanting to push you further toward your dream. Heck, you have people you work with hunting me down to tell me how incredible you are. I feel like you’re getting somewhere now. I wish you could get there faster, but … stuff is happening, and it would be sad to shut that down now.”

“So what you’re saying is, ‘Don’t give up, I believe in you, you can do this’?”

I laugh. “Yes, that’s Hollywood for what I just said.”

“Lawyer,” he accuses me with a smile.

My husband’s Hollywood career mean his hours are sporadic, and I can never count on him to be home for bedtime or any other time. That’s part of the gig.

His pay isn’t great, either. Most months, he doesn’t make enough after taxes to pay our rent.

So I pay the rent and the groceries, and ferry the kids, and feed them, and ready them for bed. I celebrate the evenings my husband’s home from work early enough to share the load, which he does happily.

I don’t fault him. He’s working hard, and his hard work seems likely to pay off sometime in the none too distant future. But I get tired, and that tiredness is compounded by sadness when I think about how the burden of breadwinning keeps me away from the children who sustain me.

It won’t be like this forever, I tell myself. We are working toward a different future.

My four-year-old is so excited his little brother will be joining him at school. He picks him up and carries him around the house, whispering sweet reassurances.

And yet, when it’s time for us to drop him and his brother off, he clings to his dad and cries. I barely don’t cry as I leave my infant son, only twelve weeks old, to someone else’s care. Today is just a test run, a chance to acclimate him for a few hours instead of an entire ten-hour day.

I am excited to return to work outside the home tomorrow. No matter how deeply I love my children, I also take delight in the challenges of my paid profession. I don’t want to give up work.

Give up my commute? Yes. Work? No. At least, I don’t think so. It’s hard to tell as I watch my baby cooing and know I will be walking away from him in moments, and leaving him to someone else’s care. Someone else will be there to feed him, change him, chat with him and coax him to sleep.

Doing A-OK on his first day

Doing A-OK on his first day

It hurts me fiercely to imagine these moments lost to me, but the pain is just pain. It doesn’t pay the bills. Only I can do that, for now.

It won’t be like this forever, I tell myself as I climb into the car.

I will find a way to work and be with my kids more than one waking, non-driving hour a day. It won’t be quick, because there’s scant little time in the day for other practicalities when the kids are finally asleep.

But the sadness I face now when I drop off my sons, knowing I won’t see them again for another ten hours, and that we’ll drive another while after that? It’s not forever. Truly it’s not. And so, understanding this, I seek the good in each moment, whether at work or with my beautiful sons, and take comfort in knowing that we are all working toward a different future.

Even if parts of now hurt, the hurt doesn’t diminish the beauty of myriad small moments daily.

I mean to keep on stepping. Step by step, I’m moving toward a future I’m gonna do my damndest to make great.

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  1. nicciattfield
    June 23, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    All the best.

  2. June 23, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    You seem like a loving soul with a wonderful family, and as hard as things are now, you’re laying the groundwork for much success in the future. I enjoyed reading this, is it gave me hope if there are thoughtful, hard-working, caring people in this world.
    >

    • June 23, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words. I try to live fully right now as much as possible, but sometimes thinking about where now could lead is a great reminder. It’s neat to think what might be in two years, or ten.

      Thank you again!

  3. June 23, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Ack! I remember the first day I dropped Mr. T off – I walked out bawling… and drove to my brand new job (while on maternity leave I interviewed and accepted a new position, and then had to turn in my notice at the other place!). I love my kid, but I loved working outside of the house (and I loved the opportunity to work from home several years later!)
    So, the point is… it’s hard, so very hard, and nothing will make it easier, but you will get past this and I haven’t been following for long, but I know you got this handled! 🙂

    • June 23, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      What helps a little is remembering my first couple of weeks dropping off Li’l D. I cried every day for the first few weeks, but soon found my balance. Work made me appreciate my son more and my son made me appreciate my work more. I’m a little different now, but I know my fortitude has since increased. So I have that faith, right alongside the ache!

  4. June 23, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Oh Deborah, what an absolute doll he is!

  5. June 23, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    He’s so precious, just like his big brother. 🙂 I hope your day went smoothly and that you’re having some good snuggles at home with your littles! 🙂 ❤

    • June 28, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      It wasn’t nearly as bad as I feared, though I was definitely a little rusty after several months away! I’m usually skilled at communicating specific computer issues I’m having, and troubleshooting many of them before they get to this point … but my efforts to do so my first few hours back were comical. In retrospect. There was a little frustration while they were actually in progress. 😉

  6. June 23, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Hi!Deborah. Your anguish is heartfelt and shared by the many thousands of people set the same difficult task each day.
    I saw a book advertised recently that proclaimed the values of determining the outcome of a situation, the time that we say to ourselves ‘I’m glad now I did what I did it gave me a chance to do…..’. The writer believes that if we could pay forward on outcomes then we wouldn’t suffer the mind-numbing grief periods for quite as long and we can proceed to develop our lives around a new paradigm, earlier thus giving us a stronger outcome.
    I was interested in this as a concept, it may be helpful to some. I actually suffered the same as yourself in those early years, but it does get easier. The ‘Missing out’ is well and truly balanced by the quality with which one can offer.
    I wish you all the best in your planning and balancing activities, but I can assure you that the pain that love brings is only exceeded by the pleasure it provides.B.

  7. June 23, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    I know your pain, but you are doing the right thing. There are many ways to love our children and going back to work to provide for them can be one of those ways.

  8. June 23, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    You’ve given your situation its best possible outcome, a happy, well-loved family. Having a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and cozy beds in which to cuddle and coo matters much. You work hard and play happily, and share love. Your situation is quite a happy one. It reminds me of mine, except my own little loves aren’t so little anymore (bittersweet sigh). 🙂

  9. June 24, 2014 at 3:46 am

    You are building such a life with such a foundation. Would it be horrible for me to say I am so proud of you and so proud I know you. You give me hope, every single time I read you, you give me hope. This made me tear up because I know you are hurting and I never want my friends to hurt, but I know you will be just fabulous and so will your sons. ❤

  10. June 24, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Aw. Hang in there, mama. Doing what is best for the family isnt always easy. In fact, most everything is at least a little hard, isn’t it? Smooches to your little ones – what cuties.

  11. June 24, 2014 at 9:46 am

    You are a wonderful mother and, as this post shows, wife. Hang in there.

  12. June 24, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Deb, I love your positive attitude and outlook on life. This is what carries us through the really tough times when we don’t FEEL like it is ever going to be any easier. After 7 years of single parenting, working no less than 3 jobs at any given time to pay the bills and afford a few “extras”, I can attest that one way or another, the hard work and steadfast determination to keep a wide-angle perspective pays off-not perhaps in dollar signs, but in every other way for sure. I still miss Maycee every single day I’m at work-some more so than others, of course, but the heartache lingers. However, I accept it, don’t dwell on it, and appreciate the moments in and around and between with my girl, as I know you do and will with your boys and your hubby. XOXO-Kasey

  13. June 25, 2014 at 4:33 am

    Big hugs, Deb. It is so hard, such a hard road to travel. He’s just beautiful.

  14. June 25, 2014 at 8:32 am

    For three and a half years I was a mostly stay-at-home-mom. I worked one day a week at a public library. It was enough money for gas in my car and little essentials. That job ended, and I ended up going back to work for 24 hours a week. I no longer feel like a sahm. And now I am contemplating a full-time school job. I am a little panicked even if it is my mom watching the kids, and there is next to no commute. So I can imagine the myriad of feelings you are going through. I hope the moments let you make the most of them. Sometimes they do not lend themselves to being a positive experience. I hope most of yours are.

  15. June 25, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    You have a beautiful, holistic view of your life. Rather than comparing one another’s contributions, you acknowledge that both of you are contributing to the whole. Too many couples fall into the trap of thinking that a relationship is 50/50. Relationships that last are 100/100.

  16. July 5, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Love that onesie! And his little overalls!

  1. July 30, 2014 at 7:56 pm
  2. May 14, 2015 at 9:03 pm

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