The Difference A Year Makes

Last year, at this time, I was a nervous wreck.

I barely slept the night before. I tossed and turned and hugged my little boy tight throughout the night as he slept beside me in bed. I woke up early and dressed myself and my son and slowly carefully drove the 12 minutes it takes to get from our house to our destination.

It was my son’s first day of school.

He was only going to a two-day-a-week preschool program from 9-12, but it was the first time he had ever been away from me. He had never had a babysitter and I rarely even let family watch him. To be honest, he had never even been with my husband alone for more than 4 hours. The school separation was going to be a huge deal, for both of us.

When I dropped my son off in 2011, he screamed and cried and I finally had to leave him crying there while I walked out under the teacher’s advisement that he would stop crying and settle more quickly if I was gone. This, I knew was true. I used to be a teacher, after all. But it didn’t make it any easier for me to be the mommy that had to leave my crying baby nearly in tears myself.

With mixed emotions of apprehension and excitement, I drove away from the school and went to Starbucks. I ordered a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and made myself comfortable in one of the bar seats facing the window. I watched as people scurried to work or shopped at the outdoor mall. I felt pangs of quilt and frivolity for the luxury of being able to people-watch on a Thursday morning when most people were working or in school. I felt unencumbered and oddly uneasy with my new-found alone time.

After trying to enjoy my latte and spending a little too much time in my own head, I decided it was time to leave Starbucks. Except it was only 10:15. And so I drove to my son’s school and sat in the parking lot until noon, anxiously awaiting pick up time. I just did not know what to do without him for that long. I felt like a piece of me was missing.

This year, at this time, I was ready.

As it turns out, I got pretty used to my two mornings off a week last year. I spent most of last year re-discovering my identity outside of motherhood and I felt pretty exhausted after a long summer with very few breaks from constant toddler care.

The night before, my son slept in his bed while I slept in mine, (for the first half of the night anyway).

This year, my son is going into the three-year-old class three days a week from 9-12, but with extra curricular activities of soccer, art and gymnastics after school each day, so I will be picking him up at times ranging from 12:30 to 1:00pm. His school is no longer a new environment, but a trusted and nurturing one.

We were both excited for school and I may have driven a little over the speed limit to get us there.

I walked my son in and dropped him off in his new classroom. Though he was a little hesitant and a bit nervous when we arrived, he became distracted with washing his hands in the new (to him) big boy bathroom in the three-year-old class. I gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, said, “Mommy loves you,” and slipped away with no tears from either of us.

This year, I went straight to Starbucks, ordered my Pumpkin Spice Latte, and drove home to my house where I set up my laptop, lit a candle, and spent some time enjoying the fall weather, listening to music, blogging, and soaking up every second of my blissful alone time.

This year, I may or may not have been a few minutes late to pick him up.

What a difference a year makes.

First Day of School Pics

Noah’s first days of school. Left: 2011, 2 years old, apprehensive. Right: 2012, 3 years old, attitude.

Noah playing with play dough at school Left: 2011 Right: 2012

Little Moments

Things that have made me smile today:

  • Dropping my son off at pre-school for his second day in the three-year-old class, knowing that he will have fun and that he is in such good hands with teachers that will love him and take good care of him.
  • Driving alone in my car, listening to the radio a little too loudly.
  • Getting my first Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season today from baristas that know my name, ask about my little boy, and know my order.
  • Sitting on my back deck feeling the beautiful breeze as it floats the scent of the “Autumn Festival” Yankee Candle I have burning beside me into the air.
  • Surrounding myself with silence, typing, tastes and scents that relax me.
  • Taking the time to ignore the chores and choosing to listen to life’s little pleasures.
  • Remembering that before there were days of mommyhood, there were days of me.
  • Giving thanks for this life, this house, this moment, and all of the blessings that have gotten me to this day, this time, this now.

My perfect fall morning.

An Hour Alone

I used to be a scheduled person. I used to be a Kindergarten teacher, so my day was divided into 20 minute segments of learning, teaching, organizing, writing lessons, entering student progress, and even squeezing in lunch and a bathroom break in a 20 minute time frame.

Then I became a stay-at-home Mommy. I was on baby time. I slept when the baby slept. I nursed when he wanted to nurse. I ate however much I wanted whenever I was hungry. I enjoyed trash daytime television. I reveled in the lack of schedule.

I have not had a schedule for nearly three years now. And I adore it. I adore staying up late when I need to and sleeping in when the toddler allows it. I adore taking leisurely walks with my toddler and marveling at things like flowers growing because we have nothing else to do. I love not having a schedule.

My life is not always as lovely as described above. My days are filled with laundry and dishes and cleaning and bottom wiping and trying to keep up with the needs of an ever-demanding and incessant talking toddler. But I don’t have a time frame to complete all of my to-do list.

So today, I am linking up with Stacey of Mothering Moment’s great listicles idea. It’s an interesting task; describe an hour in your day.

Today, I’m going to share a very rare hour with you. An hour of alone.

4:00 PM – Toddler and husband are upstairs for a nap. House is quiet. Cat sits in my lap and purrs as I sit at the computer reading and commenting on other’s blogs.

4:20 PM – Decide to get a snack. Go for a diet coke and some Cheez-Its. This is my time, remember? No one said it had to be healthy.

4:25 PM – Really wish we had cupcakes or something in said quiet house. Search kitchen. We do not.

4:32 PM – Turn on TV to TBS where Friends re-runs are on . Enjoy the banter between Rachel, Ross, Phoebe, Monica, Chandler and Joey.  Hope turning on TV does not wake sleeping boys upstairs.

4:34 PM – Sit back down at computer in guest room/office/playroom downstairs. Position chair to see TV in living room. Enjoy background noise of Friends and the clicking of the keyboard.

4:35 PM – Wonder what will happen next so I can finish this post.

4:38 PM – Stuff face with Cheez-Its and diet coke. Delicious.

4:39 PM – Check bank account balance to see if we have enough disposable money for me to order take out tonight while the hubs goes back to work on the night shift. Frown at the questionable outcome.

4:42 PM – Cat comes back into my lap and makes herself comfortable. She is soft and warm and I think we both enjoy this quiet company away from the toddler pulling her tail and demanding my attention.

4:51 PM – Hear husband’s alarm going off upstairs. It’s almost time for him to wake up for the night shift. The toddler will be awake soon, too.

4:56 PM – Realize it’s time to wrap up post. Spell check. Remain in awe that I got a whole hour alone to engage in junk food and blog activity.

4:58 PM – Hear husband walking around upstairs and start shower. Consider going up there. Remember we are not in college anymore and typing with a cat in my lap is actually much more appealing than joining husband in shower. I am getting old.

5:00 PM – Gently place cat on floor. My time is up. But what a wonderful time it has been.

It’s safe to assume that the rest of my day was a constant task of toddler wrangling, bottom wiping, dishes, laundry, cleaning, and blogging catch up. But this hour, was for me. Thank goodness for blogging, Friends, diet coke, and Cheez-Its.

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