Life has been pretty crazy at home lately. Trying to teach full-time, be a full-time graduate student, wife, and mother all at the same time is taking its toll.
In addition to being more sleep deprived than usual, I have been having some serious attacks of the ‘Mom-Guilt’ persuasion lately, so when my evening unexpectedly opened up I took full advantage of the family time that has been so rare lately.
The original game plan had been to get home from school at about 4:00, hang out with Dragonling for a half an hour or so, and then retreat to my desk to do school work until supper. I planned to eat supper with Dragonling and Science Lovin’ Papa and then return to my school work. I had hoped to finish the assignment that was due at midnight before bedtime (8:30) so after I put Dragonling to bed I could start the training for the distance standardized test scoring that I will be doing as a short little side job. Last time the training took a couple hours so I expected to be up till 11:00 or midnight to check that off my ‘to-do’ list.
But Someone must have known that this Momma needed a night off to spend with her family because the stars aligned and I suddenly found myself with none of the deadlines I had anticipated.
When I went up to my desk after school I opened up my online portal for my graduate classes and saw an announcement from my professor. The due date for the assignment that was due tonight had been extended. Knowing I had a few more days I decided to start my test scoring training to get it out of the way, so I went to my email to find the link to the training page only to find that instead of starting on April 6th I had misread the date. Scoring training doesn’t start until April 16th. As I let this news sink in I suddenly realized that for the first time in many days I had a night where I could actually put things off and not make it worse in the end.
I took full advantage of this small blessing.
Science Lovin’ Papa cooked dinner, then we all sat at the table and enjoyed a relaxed supper. We had time to talk about our day and I could sit and enjoy the time without thinking about how late I was going to be up to finish my homework.
After supper, Dragonling and I played with Play-Doh. Mostly we just smashed it because Dragonling is only one and a half, but it was the most fun I’ve had with Play-Doh in years. Watching her eyes light up when I molded the dough into a cat face or a caterpillar warmed my heart.
When she was finished with the Play-Doh, Dragonling looked at me and very sweetly said, “Car?”
“Where do you think we should go?” I asked.
“Shhlide? Shlide.” she replied.
“You think we should go to the park and play on the slide? Ok. Let’s find your shoes.”
All I heard after that was excited squealing and frantic running about looking for anything she might possibly need to get that show on the road. She found my purse, Papa’s hat, her shoes, and her coat.
We piled into the car and headed for the park.
At the park, there was only one other child on the equipment and he took off after his parents soon after we arrived. I followed her up the steps, over to one of the slides, then she sat on my lap as we went down. Then she hopped off and raced around to the stairs to do it again. We did this over and over and over…
Most nights I would have been ready to stop after the fourth or fifth time down the slide with her, but tonight was different. The weather was beautiful, a little windy, but sunny and not too cold. All I could think about was all the times I had missed taking her to the park already and all the times in the coming months that I would have to do homework instead of spending time with my baby. (Cue Mom-guilt.)
My night off wasn’t planned. I didn’t spend it doing the things on my ‘to-do’ list. It was spontaneous and it was perfect.
When we got home from the park, I Dragonling and I showered and then she had a bath to play a bit in the water. Bath time is usually a task taken on by Papa Dragon but tonight I really wanted to do it. I let her play in the water longer than usual and Papa came and watched her while I got the after bath things ready. We got pajamas on and then went downstairs for a small snack, one episode of ‘Puffin Rock’, and snuggles.
Then it was bed time. We read a book and then we cuddled in the rocking chair. When I laid her down in her crib she looked up at me and said, “Wuv you, Mama.”
“I love you too, Aurora.”
I kissed her forehead like always and she grabbed my face and kissed my cheek.
A perfect end, to a perfect unexpected night off.
Count your blessings. Savor the moments, especially the ones you didn’t know you were going to get.