The sweet spot

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“Go home, Mama. Go pay.”

It’s a cold morning and the wind whips our faces as we walk back to our car, having just finished drop off. We’re headed home and pay means play and play we probably will. Or, rather, he will and I will whirl around him cleaning up breakfast dishes and wiping down counters and shuttling laundry from one place to another. He’ll bring me empty cups of tea and plates of imaginary cookies (“cooky! ee!”). I’ll sing to him, words I make up just for him sung to whatever tune lingered in my mind after it played on the radio on the way home from school (probably Taylor Swift. Or Let it Go. Because, of course). And maybe he’ll giggle or maybe he’ll tell me, “No Mama!” and I’ll have to find a new song. He’ll show me his cas (cars) and tell me their colors (bue, gene, ra). He’ll ask for his boom (broom) so that he can clean alongside me. He’ll burst into the room shouting “wa, mama!” and I’ll prompt him to complete his words and sentences. “You want water?” And he’ll pause before slowly responding, “I. wan. wa. peas!!!” And we’ll high five because that is an accomplishment. Then I’ll get him some water, and we’ll return to our playing and wandering.

play dough and tea

And we’re here. Right here in this sweet spot. Where we’ve found our little groove and we slide quite easily into it, and out of it when we need to. I look forward to our mornings at home, shuffling around in sock feet and passing the morning in a haze of productivity and giggles. I look forward to our afternoons, he sleeps and I work. I look forward to moving through my day with him. And this is a new feeling.

I gazed at this sweet spot from afar for a long time. For a long time it was on the other side. The other side of figuring out what it means to work and mother with no wall between the two. The other side of unlocking his voice and encouraging him to tell us what he sees and thinks and feels. The other side of settling into this life so that I could enjoy it and savor it and realize how fleeting it is.

Here on the other side, October, the month when he will start school and take these moments away with him every day, looms. You can tell me that it’s ten months away all you want and I know that almost a full year exists between here and there. But now that I’m here on the other side, it feels like our days are numbered. I can feel the end approaching. And when I’m not careful, I can feel myself longing for him even as he sits on my lap.

When we talk about motherhood, we talk a lot about regret. We regret the things we didn’t do. We regret the things we did. We regret the memories unmade, the glances missed, the milestones overlooked. We make decisions today with the fear of future regret guiding our every move and that, I believe, is the worst. The most insidious. We sit on the floor and make cookies out of blue playdough because we don’t want to regret that we said no when they asked (and now they don’t ask anymore). We drop tears onto our fingers as they click onto keyboards because, in that moment, we regret choosing this moment for ourselves over stories and tuck-ins (they won’t need their loveys kissed forever). We make decisions and we do the things we want to do and the things we really don’t, all in fear of regret. Future regret haunts my present.

With ten months left in this sweet spot, I could easily follow regret into every playtime moment, every decision between him or work, every morning or afternoon left to him and I to plan. Fear of regret could keep my butt on the floor, lead my hands to the matchbox cars, and take me all the way to October. But I don’t want it to. I’d really rather be led by love and the sweetness of this spot we’re in, no matter how fleeting it may be.

~~~~~

linking up with Lisa for One Word Prompts

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