More and more I am finding my days peppered with bittersweet reminders that my baby boy is growing up. A slight annoyance when I run my fingers through his hair or a silly face instead of a smile when I try to take his picture is proof that Evan is proclaiming his independence a little more every day. My heart breaks each time I see the baby I once held disappearing deeper and deeper inside my boy.
Today while Madelyn was napping, I suggested projects, games and activities to entertain Evan. I was rebuffed every time. He was wearing a Transformers mask, Ironman glove and a fireman hat when he looked up at me and said, “Can I have a friend over?”
For years I’ve been the center of his little universe and had to plot out ways to keep him occupied. Then today, for the first time I can remember, my boy chose someone other than me. He's had play dates before, but this one was different. He initiated it, and when his friend got here, he didn't need me around. It stung, but this afternoon while he and his friend were playing downstairs and Madelyn and I busied ourselves upstairs, I felt even more grateful that I’ve been a write-at-home mom for the past four years. I’ve gotten to take advantage of games of hide-and-go-seek, dress up and superheroes all while working around my guy’s schedule.
As a freelancer, there are weeks that are much harder than any full-time job I’ve ever held. (Last year I pulled my first all nighter ever AND had to take care of my kids the next day—that was rough!) But the subtle reminders about how quickly my boy’s toddler years passed are also my inspiration for keeping my freelance business afloat.
Evan starts kindergarten next year, and I don’t want to miss out on any of the joy that the school year brings. I also want to savor Madelyn’s toddler years, even though I think navigating her tantrums will be quite the adventure. At the same time, I love writing, and the value I get out of my career. I want to have my cake and eat it too, and I think being a write-at-home mom is the closest I can get to that! So tonight, I will go to bed mourning the 'loss' of the little boy that used to let me snuggle him whenever I wanted and liked when I played with his hair, but I will also be feeling grateful for freelancing and the schedule it has allowed me to keep.