On my old non-smartphone cell of yesteryear (slash earlier this year), whenever I received a text that was worded identically to one I received in the past, the phone would say “Duplicate message.” I probably got about 100 “Duplicate message” texts from L that said, “On my way.” He didn’t send it every evening, but it was pretty standard routine just before he got on his scooter. Even now that we’re both working full-time, I’m the first one home about 95 percent of the time, which means that the total for my “On my way” text bank grows ever higher by the day.
This week Luke is on paternity leave (whooaaaa, right?) and staying home with Max Man while I trek off to my baby-filled baby-free job every day. The last time life was like this was way back in the day when I was med-schooling it and L was job searching while staying home with (little, tiny, squishable omg) Noah. Since then, I’ve been the go-to when it comes to staying home—both during my part-time preschool job with the kids in tow and even now when the kids have to stay home because of crud or weird teacher days or what have you—it works out better for me to be the home base parent.
Last week my mom and dad were here and MAN was that the bomb dot com. They cooked and cleaned and loved on Max like bosses, and I tra-la-la’d off to work without a worry. But even so, something about this week is even easier. It’s just the five of us (plus our new renter friend upstairs) doing our thing, getting out the door, making dinner, doing bedtimes, etc. Finally, three months into three kiddom, and we’re finally starting to take the training wheels off and pedal into normal two full-time working parents with three kids existence. (Slowly, but surely.) What a relief to have Max at home with his dad this week, in his own space. It’s peace of mind enough that families everywhere decide over and over again to give up an entire annual salary to maintain it on a permanent basis. I get that. I also get that it’s a big, hairy, complicated decision that is unique to every family who makes it (and that it’s not always a choice). I feel good about our decision to be a two parent working family. Almost all of the time. (And you’ll have to ask me again next week.)
I miss that little boy every minute while I work—the smell of his babyness, his chubby grabby hands, the second chin that rolls itself out to sit squat underneath the original, the quiet sweet noise of his earnest baby stories … all the things, all of them. So it does my insides a lot of good to know that for this week at least, he’s chinning, grabbing and jawing with his old man. And the thought of that carries me all the way through the day and into the parking lot to my car as I settle into the driver’s seat and just before shifting the gears to reverse, send a text to let them both know: I’m on my way.