Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Toddlers & Preschoolers & Bears...oh my!

I allegedly worked from home today. Actually, I took the day off, but still kept up with the work email and attended a meeting. I don't know if this is because my parents raised me with a sound work ethic, or because I was trying to balance the demands of Little 'Miss (age two) and Princess T (age 4) with some form of adult interaction. All I know is that working with two young 'uns clamoring for attention, claiming lap space and throwing various toys at you in the hopes you'll play with one of them is rather difficult.

Now, truth be told, I love staying home with my daughters. I love playing with them, and seeing their imaginations blossom. It seems that they grow, both physically and intellectually, constantly and visibly. It's almost as if I am watching them through a time lapse camera; yesterday Princess T was a tiny cuddler in my arms, and today she's a walking, talking, dancing, talking, thinking, talking, imagining talker. Who sings. Little 'Miss recovered from an ear infection about a year ago and finally figured out that those muffled sounds Mom and Dad make really meant something. She hasn't stopped chatting since. She also hasn't stopped moving since she learned to crawl. Fascinating and fun, lovable, charming and beautiful. I couldn't have two more wonderful children.

But wow. I have a great deal of empathy for my wife after days like today. (Yes, I know, I should have it every day, and I do, but not always as strongly as today.) I think the reason my wife has hobbies, visits friends, plays in the community band, and sells Mary Kay is because she needs some time to talk with adults. I get that opportunity at work. Her job is environmental education, primarily with kids. So, on the days she's not a stay-at-home mom, she's working with other people's offspring. I empathize, and don't envy her.

Don't get me wrong. I love kids. I teach Sunday School to three year olds, and adore every minute I spend with my daughters. It's just that I usually adore those minutes in hindsight. When you're wrapped up in their little worlds you often aren't as amazed as you should be. It is only by looking back that you realize how special such moments are, and how quickly the time is passing. I am, for instance, looking back at today wondering why I bothered to try and do some work. I had the day off, and missed some opportunities to enjoy more time with two girls who will be grown before I know it. Not many, granted, but enough to make me think I should have ignored the pressing matters of the job that pays in money, and paid just a little more attention to the job that pays real value.

Little 'Miss is now saying, again, "play with me daddy."

It's good to regain perspective, and have this time at end of day to think back. The irritations are gone, and the same requests made earlier are more endearing upon reflection. So I think I'll go play now. And this time, not worry about how well the adults are getting along without me.

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