Week in My Life 2017: Thursday

I’m blogging every day this week to share a glimpse into our daily lives.

You can read Monday’s post hereTuesday’s here, Wednesday’s here, Friday’s here, Saturday’s here, and Sunday’s here.

Morning comes quickly. As I get things ready for the day, I keep in mind that I will be at a work event late into the evening. I tell Leo it would be good to get his trumpet practice out of the way this morning, so he does, and “Hot Cross Buns” wakes up his sleepy little brother.

We’re all up, and the day is underway. Then I realize the boys don’t have school tomorrow, which means all Daniel’s writing assignments for the week are due. We still have one left to complete. I pull out a sheet of paper and stand by as he writes an acrostic poem about November.

Breakfast is chicken noodle soup for one and chicken soup with rice for the other, and both boys have fun tracing words and symbols onto the glass lid of a cold pan that’s all fogged up. Then they’re off to school with their father for Grandparents and Special Friends Day. Their grandparents can’t go, but that’s fine because each of them has a “special friend” to go along, and I can tell they are excited.

I’m off for what might be an ordinary day at work. I slip away for lunch with two good friends I don’t see often enough, and then I’m back to the office for a bit before I head downtown for a work event.

On my drive downtown, I call my sister’s house in New York. Her 10-year-old daughter Elise answers. Her little brother is playing the recorder in the background, and we have a great conversation for a few minutes. She sounds so grown-up. After we hang up, I decide I should call them more often to chat.

My mind has turned to my responsibilities for the evening when I get a text message from our sitter. She is home with the boys, and Leo isn’t feeling well. My heart sinks. I’m not nearby, and I have a job to do. Often my work is flexible, but tonight I don’t see an easy way to transfer duties. And my husband is also working a little later tonight. I don’t know what to do.

I ask our sitter for more details. Leo doesn’t have a fever, just a headache and he’s a little listless. I tell her to give him a lemon Italian ice from the freezer and turn on a movie. It’s not much of a prescription, but it’s the best I can do from a distance. I reach out to my husband who promises to go home sooner, but it will still be a little while. Still, he will be home sooner than I would be if I had to fight the commuter traffic heading out of downtown.

The evening flies by, the event goes beautifully, and the sitter—and then John—keeps me updated on Leo at home. Being a working mother is not always easy and it’s not always hard. It’s always full. It always challenges and stretches me. And sometimes it challenges me by asking me to be OK wth not being everything to everyone. That’s hard.

At the end of the evening, I drive home and find my husband and Daniel still awake. Leo is fast asleep.

“Do you have lipstick on?” Daniel asks me. I don’t, because apparently I never think of it if I don’t have a 7-year-old to remind me. Maybe next time.

Daniel doesn’t want to go to bed, so I give him a piggyback ride and tuck him in. Then he decides he needs to change clothes to sleep, so we do that. We say our prayers, and for a second time I tuck him into a mountain of blankets and pillows. He is a chatterbox tonight, even at 10 p.m., mostly because he hasn’t seen me all day. But we will have time to talk in the morning.

Soon enough, he’s asleep. And I’ll follow him shortly.

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Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.