Looking back

A few years back my doctor told me to cut back my hours. Naturally I ignored his advice, as with many people, I felt trapped in the schedule I’d built for myself, as insane as it was. I did though promise my daughter that by the time she was in second grade I’d spend the evenings at home. When she started third grade she reminded me of my promise and I took the leap.

For over ten years I had been working monday nights. The Monday’s were the last of my three evenings to go. Now (or at least until school ended) I leave early on Monday’s and pick up PalKid from school. We stop at the bagel store, then go to the coffee shop to do her homework, then off to dance class. I haven’t missed one softball game this spring.

This wasn’t an easy decision for my family, but a few things hammered home its importance. PalKid is at the age now where she remembers everything, no exceptions. I want her to remember that I was around, and not just to kiss her goodnight. Of course, none of this would be possible if I hadn’t been fortunate enough to have an education and a career that allows this luxury.

A dear friend of mine required a big surgery this spring, something that I think made a lot of us question our own priorities (he’s doing great and kicking my ass on the trail). I don’t want to miss a single minute, even though sometimes I’d like to muzzle that kid.

And I think every day about what it might be like to be an only child. I had a hint of it, as my sisters are quite a bit older than me (but look younger). But it’s not the same. I’m spending the week with them now up in northern Michigan and I am definitely not an only child.

We make the effort to keep PalKid busy, because despite the intrusive comments of near-strangers, she’s not getting a sibling. It drives me nuts when she fights with her cousin, but I tough it out because she has to. When we go on vacation we try to bring a cousin or a friend so that she doesn’t feel isolated.

I’m sure there is no one right way to make a life or to raise a child, but I hope she smiles when someday she looks back at all this. My smile grows with every softball she swings at, and with every missed dance step.

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  1. Good for you! I cut back my clinic hours last year to make room to tend to my health and better tend to my daughter, who is now a teen. I have been amply rewarded.

  2. …forwarding to that nice man who looks like my Trophy Husband. I often find this unfamiliar dude passed out next to me early in the morning, where he landed sometime in the wee hours. It is hard to change the pattern, though. He showed up for two days of a longer family trip and I was both totally giddy to have him around and extreeemely frustrated with his demanding job that pays for trips to the desert. And allows me to stay home with the Little Anthropologists…thus allowing him to work the demanding hours that lead to promotions….rendering him so valuable that he’s unable to be away from work for the whole week. So hard to find good balance.

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