Home again.

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."

I sighed.

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.


Blogger jen said...

this is truly beautiful, Liz.

10/1/08, 8:58 PM  
Blogger Anissa Mayhew said...

Oh. That was beautiful and touching and those cuddles are what you need to soak in. Glad you're back with your munchkins.

10/1/08, 9:12 PM  
Blogger Mama Ginger Tree said...

Oh that was so sweet. You captured that feeling so well. Moments like that are priceless.

10/1/08, 9:53 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

You totally nailed it
Exactly how I have felt since going back to work. Thanks!

10/1/08, 10:06 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Schmitty said...

So very important. I sometimes take those moments for granted because I am with my kids 24/7. You have just reminded me that I need to be more like you and cherish everything!

10/1/08, 10:24 PM  
Blogger mpotter said...

how beautiful to read about such a love.

10/1/08, 11:21 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

Yup. Even though I'm home with them every. single. minute (almost), I still need to slow down and sniff, touch and listen. Sweet.

10/1/08, 11:24 PM  
Blogger erin said...

Same feeling every day...for the last 25 months. Starting to wear on me...starting to realize that I can't do it all. Lovely post...thanks.

10/1/08, 11:39 PM  
Blogger Elaine A. said...

I read this twice. So heart-felt and real.

10/1/08, 11:50 PM  
Anonymous anna said...

Awww. I haven't had to feel that way, yet, but my husband does it every day. He says he has to squeeze in a day's worth of snuggles in one hour--sucks.

10/1/08, 11:51 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

Oh, I know. I work late two nights a week, and this is so familiar.

10/2/08, 12:08 AM  
Blogger Desiree Fawn said...

Beautiful, absolutely.

10/2/08, 12:09 AM  
Anonymous mothergoosemouse said...

Today must be our day to make each other weepy.

I know that feeling of reconnection. Such a sweet release after the anxiety and exhaustion of being away.

10/2/08, 12:50 AM  
Blogger Momma Mikki said...

Delurking for a minute to say that this post represents for me my heart in words. Racing home from the city every day, just to stick my nose in my daughter's dirty, sweaty, perfect little neck and breath her in, is a nightly ritual and heartbreak. It hasn't gotten easier in the 14 months I've been back to work.

Last night, I was late and when it was time for bed (20 minutes after I finally made it through the door), Bailey wouldn't let me put her down. We sat in her chair and she fell into a deep sleep with her fingers curled in my hair and her face turned up to mine, where she had been staring at me before she feel asleep. I'm not sure that I've ever felt so loved or ever found it so impossible to put her down.

10/2/08, 7:07 AM  
Blogger MindfulMama said...

That's where the true zen is found in motherhood -- in being so very in the moment, be RIGHT THERE. It's powerful enough to make a grown woman cry.

10/2/08, 7:12 AM  
Blogger Wicked Step Mom said...

I feel that way every time the kids come back home from their mother's house. Its like I can't quiet get enough of them.

10/2/08, 9:00 AM  
Blogger Jenni said...

And they say parenthood gets easier.

10/2/08, 9:32 AM  
Blogger roni said...

thank you. totally crying at my desk now :) i think you have articulated what many of us go through every day. such a simple, beautiful expression of love. wonderful!

10/2/08, 9:38 AM  
Blogger Mom said...

Totally made me all weepy just before a meeting. You captured the sentiment perfectly, about being a working mom, more so a mom.

10/2/08, 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

Oh man. My pregnancy horomone can't take all that sweetness! I miss my boys like crazy right now and I work a 8 to 5 and I'm home by 5:15 everyday. You're killing me here. I'll have to go home a smush my boys up in a big hug today.

10/2/08, 9:46 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Being a mom is such a balancing act. Cherish those moments, you are so right - they are important.

10/2/08, 10:34 AM  
Blogger caramama said...

I know exactly what you mean! But of course, you say it better than I could!

10/2/08, 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having my time divided between 4 kids leaves me feeling that way. Thanks.

10/2/08, 12:18 PM  
Anonymous The Yummy Mummy Cooks Gourmet said...

Oh yeah, I get this. So well told, Liz. You really know how to tell a story.

I'm all huggin' my kid right now.


10/2/08, 12:25 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

You have captured the ever present tug of war of the working mom. Always feeling like I am missing my kids when I am at work, and feeling like my work is being affected when home with my boys. Always searching for that elusive "balance" that others talk about. Thank you for putting it into words for me.

10/2/08, 1:37 PM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I'm right there with you. With Congress acting like a neurotic teenager, I've been stuck at work quite a bit.

Add in demands of pumping, illness (baby, ear infection; pinkeye, baby and me; bronchitis, me), the recent break-in, and I'm just sort of done with the universe at the moment.

All I want to do is get Ruth from daycare and sing to her, play with her, and then watch her eyes droop as she nurses to sleep.

I'm looking forward to Columbus Day weekend. We're heading to my in-laws and my Dad/stepmom will join us. Lots of people who love her will give me a chance for a nap and the husband and I a chance at a dinner out.

10/2/08, 2:02 PM  
Blogger TheComebackKid said...

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.

I needed to read this today. Thank You!

10/2/08, 2:13 PM  
Blogger Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Oh Liz, I hear you loud and clear. Most evenings, I don't even change out of my work clothes until the boyz are in bed. I don't want to waste any time and miss out on the chatter, the snuggles, the love.

It's a tough balance - this working mom gig.

10/2/08, 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post!

10/2/08, 3:35 PM  
Anonymous torrie said...

I love this.

10/2/08, 4:24 PM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

Oh this was a great post, Liz.

I feel your pain on this one. I went back to work, with both of the girls, when they were 7 weeks old. Not sure I can do it this time around. 6 weeks from now seems way too soon. Maybe when he's 18?

Hugs to you. Enjoy the time with them. It's those small moments that are the most amazing.

10/2/08, 4:28 PM  
Blogger motherbumper said...

oh damn Liz, you made me sigh and perhaps a bit teary eyed (though I'll never admit it - deny deny deny). That work-life balance they talk about in the corporate world is not so balanced, especially when the rest of the world (public transit) is working against you.

10/2/08, 6:03 PM  
Blogger Anyabeth said...

This. Exactly this. I think we all feel it so desperately but I wish we didn't have to. I really bought the whole "have it all" line and find myself so disappointed.

10/2/08, 10:29 PM  
Blogger Tara@From Dawn Till Rusk said...

Hey there. Just stumbled on you for the first time and boy what a post to stumble on!
I usually lurk around a new found blog for a while before commenting, but just wanted to say that this post was absolutely beautiful.
"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."
You could be writing about me!

Excuse me for lurking for longer, I like the cut of your jib and I may have to read some more!

10/3/08, 8:22 AM  
Blogger Mz. Nesbit said...

that is just heartwarming and skin tingling. thank you.

10/3/08, 2:02 PM  
Blogger Jax said...

You made me ink.....

10/3/08, 9:09 PM  
Blogger GTA said...

Hi... My wife Diana left this post for me to read. It is a beautiful post.

I have a long conmute, too, and I felt tenderly identified with the scene you described.


10/3/08, 10:44 PM  
Blogger Grim Reality Girl said...


10/3/08, 11:12 PM  
Blogger kevin black said...

I had to come out of hiding to share that the other day my wife proudly brought me the copy of Parents magazine featuring you and your kids. Ya looked good and should have made the cover but alas.

My spouse was excited that the woman in the picture had actually left comments on my blog. For what it's worth, that means you have now joined the upper echelons of celebrity commentators including both Dr. Roger Libby, author of Sex: From "Ahh" to "Zipper" and Donavan Freberg, aka the Encyclopedia Britannica guy.

The article basically summed up what most of us already know. You rock.

10/4/08, 7:10 PM  
Blogger J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I don't want this comment to sound critical, because it is NOT AT ALL. But, this is one reason that I have the crappy job that I have. Because I can work from home, even if my work is boring and unfulfilling, because I can not rush home before bedtime. My point here is not to criticize, but to agree...we want to have it all. We cannot.

10/4/08, 11:03 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Just beautiful. It can be so heart wrenching, that fight between career and kids. Why do we feel we have to have it all, do it all, be it all?

10/21/08, 9:38 PM  

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