Last week my mom told me on the phone about putting my son in the swing at the playground for the first time: how he clutched the chains and looked astonished. And a few days ago I walked in the door after work to see my son come crawling toward me--he'd figured out how to move that day. That's really hard, feeling like I'm missing so much, when he changes so fast.
And then there's how stressed and distracted I am even in the short time I do get to spend with him. I keep trying to remember what my dad was like when I was growing up--trying to reimagine it from this new perspective: how he must have come home from a stressful day at work and had to put all that to one side of his head and adjust to our wavelength. The memory of him sitting at the kitchen table with papers and gussets all around is a familiar one, but it looks different now. He must have brought work home so that he could be there for dinner. I know now how that looks, how that feels, from his perspective. The difficulty of making the shift back into work mode when you've been at home for a while. The added stress of trying to get enough done that you can leave at a reasonable time and steal a few hours away from work.
I like my job, mostly. I like working, mostly. I don't want to be a full-time, stay-at-home mom. But this is hard.