Home for Dinner

The seventh installment in our Rear View Mirror series.

That little face. My daughter had a face like a kitten. Being an only, she had developed the ability to amuse herself on her own, just like a cat! To me, the middle child in a big family, this was a marvel. I was always in the fray. Unlike my child, I could not amuse myself and I never had the time or opportunity to try.

When my daughter was born, I negotiated six weeks of leave with an extra two if I had a C-section.  I didn’t have the section but I took the two weeks anyway. When I went back, I pushed for a four-day week and got it. I became sort of a champion of “working moms” in a tough fast-paced ad agency. Herein lies the rub we all know. In those four days, I worked longer and harder than I ever had. When I got home, most often quite late, there was my little kitten, padding around our kitchen in pj’s with Dad or our live-out sitter Michelle. She would run to me with her sparkly eyes and her Mamie (a fuzzled lamb she usually had pressed to her face.) I would put her to bed and sing to her—she loved my versions of old Broadway tunes!

Working late was my norm, and an unspoken requirement in management. When I left the corporate world, my homecoming was sweet. My daughter made me a drawing to welcome me home, and it brought me to tears. “Hello…Hi..Hello…welcome home…I missed you”…those words still bring tears to my eyes.  She drew a picture of me with my fur-trimmed coat, earrings, a hairdo and lipstick.

What I never got was how she missed me so much in the evening, when the day winds down and families eat dinner and hang out. I talked to her about it as a teenager. Her response to my query was quick and poignant. “I was so proud of you, Mom…. but I missed you, I really missed you. But I know you were busy in your job.”…she let me off the hook. I feel I shortchanged her. I can’t take the time back and the larger notion of my career was positive. But I wish I had been home for dinner more in those days. She would have liked her spaghetti with Mom at the table too.

Tomorrow’s post is Laughing Baby.

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Parenting from the Empty Nest
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2 Responses to Home for Dinner

  1. momshieb says:

    One of my strongest and most heartbreaking memories as a mom is of my first baby, my little girl. I only worked three days a week when she was a baby. I remember coming home once, when she was about 2. She immediately had a huge tantrum, screaming and crying until she fell asleep at last in my arms. I held her while she slept, and after about a half hour, she lifted her head and said, “I don’t like when you go to work.”
    She’s twenty five now, and I can still bring myself to tears remembering her face as she said those words.

    • G&F says:

      Many of us have memories like that – kids at the window waving goodbye, sometimes with tears, is one of mine. Today’s post discusses one writer’s positive experiences with being a working mom. Take a look and thanks for visiting!

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