I started this post on Thursday night with just a subject line, and left it in draft mode so that I wouldn’t forget to write about it. Tonight, I must write about it.
Because I let go a little bit tonight. I am close to tears over it.
On Thursday night, we went out for B’s company’s holiday dinner. We got a babysitter, one we trust immensely and who Matthew loves to pieces. She’s 40 and is the SIL of B’s coworker, the one I wrote about earlier today with the two sweet boys. “Aunt K” has no kids of her own and is truly what any kid would dream of for an aunt. She is involved in everything they do, she loves them like her own, and she’s taught them to respect her for the adult that she is. I think “the boys” behave better for Aunt K than they do for their own parents sometimes. When Aunt K offered to start watching Matthew for us so we could go out every once in a while, we jumped at it. We know that she loves our boy as much as he loves her, and tha’s a gift.
We went out several weeks ago and Matthew had not had a good day – he didn’t nap well and then had a complete meltdown when K was watching him. Bless her heart, she did text us and said that he was a wreck and needed us. I like that in a sitter – one who doesn’t sugar-coat it and tells you when you’re needed. We rushed home as soon as we could and I could not get in the door fast enough. I found my boy in tears – sobbing tears.
When K came over this past Thursday, I was a wreck, wondering if he’d do OK without us. I figured the prior time was a fluke, but one never knows. He did just fine. I texted her as we ordered (45 minutes after sitting down, which is so irritating to a nervous mother) and said we’d be home as soon as we could. She texted back 45 minutes later saying not to rush, that he’d gone to the garage door looking for us a few times, but was nicely distracted. That’s all I had to “hear” to rush through my meal and head home.
I told the people near us that I wanted to get home to relieve the sitter, but the truth is I just wanted to get home for my boy. B’s coworker said to text K and ask her to put Matthew to bed, but I said, “only I can put him to bed. Even B can’t do it.” I didn’t say it out of disrespect for B, just out of pure fact. Putting Matthew to bed after book time (which is B’s time) is my job, and I love it. I honestly didn’t think that K would be able to get him to settle down.
I couldn’t stand the thought of Matthew crying and wanting us. I told B to stay and enjoy himself, and he arranged a ride home with his coworker (K’s SIL) and her husband, but walked me out to the car. I swear, once the doors shut, we both said that we couldn’t get home soon enough. We played all tough for the people at the table, but both of us just wanted to be with our little boy. (Of course, when I got home, he was just fine and having a great time with K!)
Matthew is like an appendage to me. People keep telling me that I need a break from him, that I need to take some time for myself, etc. But what they don’t know is that he really, REALLY is an easy kid to have around. I take him everywhere I go, and he goes happily. He’s my permanent buddy. We’re best friends. We talk all day, laugh and play, and talk some more. I take him to his activities, and he accompanies me to mine. Being without him would be like being without my left hand – it just wouldn’t (and doesn’t) feel right. I’m sure some people read this and think, “get a life,” but the truth is, HE is my life right now. He is my #1 priority. He is my JOB. He is my son. He is my daily buddy.
The three of us are best friends. Neither of us wants to be without Matthew. I’m the lucky one in this deal who gets to spend every day with him – and I’m so grateful for that. I can’t imagine not being with him all day long. I can’t imagine leaving him for more than an hour or so at a time. And as much as my friends think that I NEED to have time without him, I can honestly say that I disagree. Sure, it’s nice to run to Target on my own, on my own schedule, once in a while, but when I do that, I’m lonely because I don’t have my little chatter box with me. The grocery store is absolutely no fun without Matthew, and I know B would agree. That’s something the three of us like to do as an activity on the weekends, for crying out loud.
Maybe I would feel differently if I had a high-maintenance child, but when I have a mellow, go-with-the-flow kid like Matthew, it’s just easier to take him with me than to leave him behind. I WANT to take him with me. I WANT him in the back of the car yelling at the busses and trucks as they go by. I WANT him in the grocery cart asking for things like oranges and tomatoes. I WANT him hugging me from the seat in the Target cart.
It’s no secret that I control certain aspects of our parenting. By design, I put Matthew to sleep for every nap and every bedtime. I tell people that I’m the only one who can do it. Because I am.
Well… at least I thought so.
I found out tonight that B can do it too.
We read a couple final books together and at the point that B usually hands Matthew off to me, he was almost sound asleep on B’s lap. Without talking about it, I decided right then and there to let B have this. He deserves to have this time as well. It’s not just mine, despite what I like to think.
I kissed my boy. I kissed B. I told them both that I loved them, and I slipped out of the room.
I let go a little.
And I came out here to write this post.
And I cried.