It is already June.
Have been itching to blog more frequently but also to improve my writing.
However, as of right now, the itch is too great. I just don’t have the energy or the time at the end of the day to commit to the editing process that is required to improve my quickly-cranked out posts.
Instead, per my usual stylo, I am opting to sneak this post in hurriedly during this sweet spot of the boys’ naps overlapping. I should be eating a real lunch instead of this tray of watermelon while typing (I know I will be too hungry to workout tonight at this rate). I SHOULD BE vacuuming the remnants of their lunches but I will gift myself with this half hour of expressing myself first. If I tended to all the “should’s” that hang out in my head, I wouldn’t get to blog until fall.
This past Saturday, I woke up too early, sleeptrained by our roommate, Little E.Z., who is prone to cry, then get sprung from his crib anywhere from 5ish, 6ish, or 7ish to nurse and crawl around in our bed.
I woke up thinking it was a weekday, then realizing it was Saturday.
Yet I didn’t hear the Hallelujah chorus go off once I realized the weekend had arrived.
This made me pause. Why wasn’t I ecstatic that it was Saturday, the bedazzling beauty of the week!? Kevin would be with us to do all the heavy lifting, corraling, disciplining, and pleading. A partner in crime to keep our kiddies alive and fed and entertained and napped.
A-ha! It dawned on me slowly in my just woken up fog. It was because I was SPENT. My body felt clammy and my throat sore. Saturdays = family fun days. Sometimes, too much fun. Marathon fun days where we allow the boys to sleep in the car so that we don’t let long naps cramp our style. Memories to create with all four of us present. Longer than typical work days.
My body was On Break. With a “B*tch, PLEASE. HAVE MERCY!”
I knew that I had to invest in rest or else the following week was going to be too much.
So, Kevin took Micah to soccer alone, then to our friends’ place on Long Island for a potluck with other parents and toddlers. I was going to allow myself to “waste” this Saturday by staying home and relaxing. I almost backslid and called Kevin to just swoop me up after soccer so that our family can be together as a foursome.
But I set myself straight. It was just one Saturday, not a North Korean – South Korean separation.
And CAN I TELL YOU? It was GLORIOUS.
It felt like spa day even though I was in my cluttered home with my Li’l Kim.
It reminded of the days when Micah and I had so much one-on-one time to fall in love all through the week, everyday, all day.
This past Saturday, I was really able to look at my younger son and drink him in. Who are you, you chubby little morsel with your jolly temperament? You who waited until Gramma Lee touched down at JFK to burst out of me. You who we didn’t know would be a boy, a gentle, laidback, delectable boy.
I didn’t have to rush so that I can feed big bro. I didn’t have to peel Micah off of him or time everything perfectly so that I can be there for the both of them. I didn’t have to rush. Period.
We rolled around on the floor. He crawled over my face. Stood up using my body for support, just beaming. Peered deep into my eyes and grabbed my face, like, “I SEE YOU, MOMMY. I REALLY SEE YOU!” We told Yo Mama jokes (Wait…). I read to him. I talked to him.
Highlight of the day was when I fed him some dinner while he was seated in his stroller in our courtyard, instead of the usual frenzied dinner scene at home in his highchair and his bro in his booster. It was a balmy evening and I fed him some messy pasta baby food while he coo’d at me. I took my time showing him the flowers, the fountain, the squirrels, the birds. I strolled him in the SINGLE stroller and called my girlfriends back home (left voicemails) while Kevin continued to stay out with Micah for my sake (Costco and BuyBuyBaby runs).
My “spa day” with just the one son also made me recall a scene from this past Mother’s Day. I had struck up a conversation with a family while sitting on a bench near the Brooklyn Bridge. I was wearing a napping Ellis while the two other boys went to pick up some pizza for our impromptu picnic on the grass. I asked the dad what life was like as a family of five, as I admired his three daughters (ages 10, 7 and 5).
“Three is the new TWO,” he told me. “Most of my good friends have three or more kids. I think it may be a reaction to 9/11. We just crave connection. Family time. And more family members.” (paraphrasing here)
I said, earnestly, “I heard that once you’re outnumbered, you have to go on one-on-one dates with them so that you can really spend quality time with them.”
He laughed. “All or nothing in my house. Who has the time?”
I laughed, too, TOTALLY understanding where he was coming from. It’s hard enough running a happy household juggling everyone’s demands and needs, and spending rare quality time on the weekends as a cohesive unit, family of four, so how can we devote ourselves to just ONE kid regularly?
I realized how much I enjoy these rare times with just one of my kids. Just like any other relationship. As much as I love hanging out with a group of local Mommy friends or my girlfriends back home, it is extra special bonding when we can go deep one-on-one and really SEE each other. Hear what makes us happy, what makes us sad, what we want to work on. Just what gives us LIFE overall.
It also made me think of Avatar’s simple yet profound tag line, “I SEE YOU!” And when my first son says, “Look at ME, Mommy, look at ME!” craving my undivided attention.
We all want to connect and be seen. To be heard without multi-tasking or being told, “Not now. Be patient while I…” “Maybe soon…”
What a gift it was.
I can’t wait for another “spa day” with just one Kim.
What a great post Jihee! I often wonder how mother’s manage their alone time, or their almost-alone time. Glad you got to “waste” a Saturday gloriously!
Aww, LOVED this post! It brought tears to my eyes for more reasons than I can list here. I totally know how you feel & I feel like Ben always gets “ignored” while I tend to Lauren’s needs since she’s the more vocal one. There are many days when I feel like I fall short for the both of them. Like you, I do love the days when Lauren’s at school & I can spend my one-on-one time with Ben without feeling guilty towards Lauren & I love that he smiles at me & I feel like he is saying “I love my noonah, but I LOVE spending alone time with you.”
thanks, fairybear! i think alone time is different for every mother, i.e. if you have local family to give you breaks, for one, or if you can hire people, too.
jean, thanks for reading and commenting. i can’t imagine just being with ellis come fall when micah starts school few months before turning the big THREE. i almost wanted to keep him with me as kids don’t need any “academic” enrichment through school at this wee age and they have so much more schooling ahead of them but it will be only few mornings a week so we can still have time together.
i told kevin it will feel like i’m some woman of leisure just having my one kid to wrangle but the timing is good and micah will enjoy himself, hopefully, after the initial transition. ellis is already so mobile so he will definitely keep me busy and i can bond with him some more before picking big bro up. as the second, he cannot take luxurious morning naps in his crib most of the time as he is out and about for big bro’s activities. of course, now i wanna interview folks with three small children.