It has been almost a month since Emily returned from maternity leave to her part time job. Since day cares have waiting lists that last longer than Everett has even been alive, I’ve now been assigned single parent duty every morning during the weekdays. I must admit that all of December, I was actually dreading this new arrangement.
I wasn’t worried about looking after Everett by myself. Anyone who has regularly read these columns knows that I’ve done that many times. I even was a single parent for five straight days and spent another weekend alone with Everett as well. One of those times was when Everett’s first set of teeth were trying to expose themselves to the world, so I got to experience his less than cheery side.
My fear was that having to look after Everett each morning meant I wouldn’t be able to complete all my work for the day; or at least meant I’d be working even later nights. I was stressed that January would be the month I became a full blown curmudgeon and officially won the crown for most irritating person to live with. I’d be cranky over my inability to further my career while caring for Everett.
Then all my concerns were erased on the first day I looked after Everett. Emily had already left for work when Everett woke up; he greeted me with his six-tooth grin and a squeal of delight. We quickly devoured breakfast so we could concentrate on important things like building blocks, toy cars, and stuffed Disney characters. When that important work was accomplished, there were many stories to read and pictures in need of important sound effects.
I’ve had several bonding opportunities with my son, but this would be the start of a regular daily event. An event that I fell in love with shortly after Everett tried to “drive” the TV remote down the toy parking garage. Suddenly, it stopped being about, “how am I going to find time to get all my work done?” and instead, “why are mornings with my son so short?”
I now cherish my mornings with Everett. After he wakes up, I take him to the window so he can eagerly scan the outdoors to soak up the adventures of dog walkers and passing vehicles. From there, I embrace every little moment of exploration and exhilaration that fills up his morning. I remember how important it is to live in the moment and enjoy all the little wonders that life has to offer. Everything is exciting and remarkable to Everett, and for me it makes the dull and mundane something magnificent again.
Everett does nap in the morning. I still do get some work done. Emily is usually pretty good at getting home before 1:30, so I still have plenty of time to dedicate to writing— which pays the mortgage and bills. My most important and rewarding job happens in the morning when I tell Everett the color of his fish or teach him how to ride his toy bus. It is also when Everett teaches me how amazing it is that a switch can light up a room or the importance of watching falling snow.
The mornings have meant some later nights, and I am still trying to balance work with Everett. All the extra work is worth spending those hours with my son. My mornings have now become a cherished treasure and have shown me how lucky I am to be able to have so much quality time with Everett.