not at all like me or my kids, but there it is

So, I arranged myself a day off this morning. Except it won’t really be a day off. When I return at 2:30 PM after my jaunt to Bainbridge Island (with two girlfriends, meeting my mother, and featuring my favorite fabric store) I will then have to pick up my children, bring them home, ready them for their naps, struggle to get them asleep, then the minute they are asleep I will have to do the normal household duties (chores I am skipping now to write this), make dinner, and hopefully get some time in to sew. I will confess I spent a few minutes this morning wading though Nels’ outgrown boyclothes for my friend Becca – which put me in a brief funk. Can I please have one more baby so I don’t have to let go of them?

Yes, going through the clothes is a trip. I am sorting them quickly to pass them off to my girlfriend on her way over, and I feel like I’m being forced to rush through Nels’ babyhood all over again! A beautiful sky-blue crawler from Gena, whom I’ve lost touch with. A seersucker bubblesuit from Amy Folkers, one of the only hand-me-downs I used from her. Some of my early sewing I’d completely forgotten: a white chenille coat with blue glass buttons. A few pieces of the Euro clothes Cynthia and Pegs brought back from their trip to Denamrk. So many, many sets of sleepers and pj’s: a soft white cotton one with little fish and aquariums on them – for some reason, a favorite of ours. Way, way back to before Sophie was born: a footed cotton jams printed with cartoon animals, given to me by my first baby shower at the PT Presbyterian church as a surprise. I remembered the tears in the eyes of the pastor’s wife as she told me of the joys of parenthood.

Nels the baby. My memories of breastmilk and snuggling and the sweet smell of his head and how he would put his toes in his mouth, wide-eyed, as I changed his diaper.

Between the clothes and dropping my son off at a friend’s and I am struggling with remorse and sadness. For maybe his third time in his life, he doesn’t want me to leave him. My husband reports yesterday Nels had the same sadness as Ralph left him at Abbi’s. It’s clear he wants more time with us, and me in particular.

I suppose I have the luxury of feeling guilty for the handful of hours this week The Boy is not with my husband and I. The funny thing is, I have always prided the four of us on being able to survive without one another exclusively, and I’ve also appreciated our social natures. And right now, even though I know I “deserve” this time without my children, and although my girlfriend is a great help to offer to sit them (I am favoring her with some sewing in return), I just feel like a heel for leaving my boy. I have his tears on my hoodie; perhaps by the time they are dry I will feel more settled.

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