Riding up in the subway elevator I felt my belly start to flutter while my fingers fiddled with my zipper. Nervous. Anxious. Like the anticipation of seeing an old college friend. Or a former crush.
But it wasn’t.
It was my kids.
The 10 hour, 12 hour, 15 hour work days lately are taking a toll. I raced home tonight, the one day I could make it out before six, but the subways weren’t cooperating. Missed connections, delayed local trains, a stop between stations.
I raced through the turnstiles, out the exit, into the rain. I bounded up my stairs and through the door.
“MOMMY!” Thalia cried out, and I ran to her.
“Sage just couldn’t wait any more,” our sitter said. “I just put her down. She was so tired.”
Later, we sprawled out on the couch together, Thalia on my belly facing up. I leaned in close–cheek to cheek, skin to skin, wrapping my arms around her as tightly as she’d let me. I felt more like a needy lover than just another working mom, trying to Do It All. Like we’re supposed to. Like we somehow think we can.
She talked to me about her day and I breathed in the smell of her just bathed skin. I stroked her arm, tickled her feet, twirled her damp hair. She told me about school, about her classmates, about the snacks they ate. I was so wrapped up in her, in the moment, it was desperately hard to focus on what she was saying. It wasn’t important.
But it was.