“My mad at you!” My two-year-old says to me. She crosses her arms and deep grooves appear in her forehead. And what in the world is she wearing?
She does look mad, actually. Adorable, but mad.
“Why are you mad at me, sweetie?”
“You are mad at me because I’m working?” I look down at my computer a little guiltily.
And then, as quick as a wink, she remembers that she is a baby owl and she begins to make a nest on the ground with her blanket, hooting softly, oblivious to me and my working. The moment is gone for her, but I allow it to crawl uncomfortably into me and make it’s own cozy home.
I don’t need to work when she is awake. And “work” will often involve things that aren’t quite like work and that are more like blog-reading and idea-gathering. You know, falling down into the inner workings of the Internet until suddenly I’m watching a video of Some Incredible Woman Rendering Jon Stewart Speechless and I’m so confused as to how I got there.
And when I do look up, I see my toddler staring angrily at me for being completely absent from the planet. Her planet. The planet that is getting larger and spinning farther away from me every day.
I can blame the weather for keeping us inside.
I can blame having “so much to do!”
I can think about how my mother kept busy too, by being a much better housewife than me.
I can think about all of the fun days that I do make happen.
I can convince myself that she is learning how to be independent.
I can convince myself that she doesn’t really want to play with me, she just wants to boss me around a bit.
And while all of these things may be true, something inside me still whispers. That sweet furrowed brow still makes me wonder if maybe I check out too much. I don’t want to be the mother that checks out.
So, I make the promise to myself. Again. Be here. Be right here. Nowhere else matters. Sit with her while she eats. Get down on the floor with her when she plays. Be bored. Look at her. Hear her voice. Tomorrow her words will be different. Let her boss you around a bit. Be a part of her life. Really, Jon Stewart can wait.
This post originally appeared on Mamalode.