I have ten days of school left. Ten days until my temporary stint as stay at home mom begins. Like last year, I feel the same anxieties already building, the same fears about changing routines, surviving the usual battle for naps every day, keeping my patience with one child instead of 167. Along with these anxieties comes excitement about our summer adventures – trips to the pool, swimming lessons, adventures to the park and countless searches for unsuspecting roly poly families living in our yard.
My preparation for the summer began today with an after school trip to Academy to get Nora a pool. Instead of the tiny pink plastic one we bought last year for our tiny pink daughter, this year Nora picked out a blue one, complete with fish and a slide. We begin swimming lessons in a week and Nora’s first words when she heard that were, “I don’t want to go in the big pool.” She apparently can’t recall the pure joy she felt last year when in the water, the way she ran into Oyster Pond neck deep without even looking back at the shore. I wanted to remind her of her love of the pool before we set foot into the Y for lessons. And, I think I also wanted to remind myself that the moments I worry about surviving this summer will pale in comparison to the ones that truly make me wish summer would never end.
If I wasn’t a working mom I wouldn’t get anything for Mother’s day. I wouldn’t receive an orange bird house painted by Nora, signed and dated on the bottom by a teacher. I wouldn’t get to go outside and feed the birds with my sweet and curious toddler because I would never have made myself a bird house.
If I wasn’t a working mom I wouldn’t be called Ms. Dille all day and come home to be called Miss Mama by toddler who is used to addressing all the women in her life with the polite prefix.
If I wasn’t a working mom I wouldn’t storm around the hallways of school, stressed out by some insignificant detail of the day only to be stopped in my tracks and forced to smile because I see a Roly Poly on the ground in front of me. Before Nora I would have ignored the Roly Poly or perhaps had an English teacher flashback to the passage in To Kill A Mockingbird where Jem asks Scout to spare the poor bug about to meet the bottom of her shoe. But now, as a working mom, I no longer see a Roly Poly as a literary symbol of innocence, but as a real life reminder of how happy one small bug can make a small child. And how that “thing” that I let stress me out during the hours of 8-4, doesn’t matter so much when I’m out searching under rocks for little bugs that roll up into balls – an effective protective mechanism for curious toddler hands.