I can't figure me out. I go through these huge swings of emotions about being back at work. At times, I have to stop myself from tearing up when I think about Gabriel telling me, "Aw Mom, I really really want you to pick me up from school!" What the heck and I doing, rewinding my life to being back at the same old place doing the same old stuff (well, when I remember how to do the same old stuff that is). But this isn't my real life.
Then I have moments of great gratification and perspective. I just about burst out laughing when a coworker referred to a project in the works, something like "when we get the end-to-end testbed done..." Those were the same exact words used about the same exact project when I was there two years ago! In that time, I gestated, birthed and raised a baby to 13 months, brought a whole person into the world! Boy, life moves a whole lot slower in the real world.
When I left today, I felt uplifted. I liked concentrating and using big words and not being interrupted for more than five minutes! And I looked forward to seeing all three children. I was an amazing picture of patience tonight when Julian pulled his best three-year-old whiny screaming tantrum fit (about wanting a pencil, which was promptly confiscated when he was caught bopping Katrina on the head with it). In some ways, I'm so convinced this is not the world for me anymore. In other ways, I'm just as convinced I belong in it. Maybe just not this exact one.
At the moment, I'm becoming more and more certain I want to be home with them in the afternoon when they're all in school. But by then, Gabriel will be 10. Will he still want to bop around the backyard with his bicycle helmet on, pushing trucks back and forth, digging to plant seeds, climbing on the playhouse, coming in to check on what I'm doing and inserting himself into any cooking project I might have going? Am I missing out on what I'd look back on as some of the best times of our lives together? They always say babyhood goes so fast -- try kindergarten! Aside from the eventual retrospect, there's the now. Gabriel needs downtime at home after school, and I feel awful about taking that away from him.
Meantime, my real world marches right along, oblivious to my turmoil and search for a comfort zone. The second we got home, Katrina made a beeline for this little push-toy, put it on a footstool, and started pushing it around. In many ways, being a for-the-moment baby has its advantages.
(Notice the hack job I did on her bangs last weekend, just trying to keep them out of her eyes. I should have taken her to get her hair cut, but for some reason resisted. Oh yeah, I know the reason: she's going to SCREAM and WIGGLE and FLAIL and generally completely resist. Just like she did for my quick snips, even though I did it outside so she'd be distracted by pointing to birds. Poor thing looks destined to have Julian-like flat straight hair, so the Bangs are an especially bad look when done by incompetent Mom.)
I got the boys to come upstairs eagerly by telling them they could take a bath with Katrina, which they love to do even though they're very restricted (they have to be much calmer and can't play together the usual way, lest they bonk the baby). She absolutely loves having them there, and starts all sorts of games with them, and laughs when they drop toys into the water or other such silly things.
Thanks to another early dinner, all three were in the bath by 7:15, and all three in bed by 8:10pm, without any big blowouts or nagging or yelling or anything. This part of the new work schedule really works. Despite the getting up at 6:30am thing. And despite my sad anxiety around 2:45pm when Gabriel's teacher opens his classroom door to let the kids out and he looks out hopefully for me and I'm not there.