This mama's circus mind
I can still see it so clearly.
She's snuggled closely to my chest, this tiny little being with big, bold, wise eyes looking at me sweetly, as tears streamed down my face. As I held tightly to this little lady that captured my heart from the moment I knew she existed, I wondered in my mind, "How can I let her go?".
How can I possibly leave this little 12-week old baby and go back to work? Will she forget about me? Will she not remember me when I return in eight, no, nine hours? Damn you, traffic.
Oh, that vivid day was 10 almost 11 years ago. Yet, every time I leave on a work trip, I remember that moment when I left her for the first time. In that moment, I hated everything that stood in my way of keeping me from her. Tears of pain swelled in my throat and stung my eyes, searing straight to my heart. But, I had to leave her.
Caught up in the emotion of that difficult day, I swiftly got in my car and cried all the way to the office. The welcoming smiles and congratulatory comments outwardly quieted the physical tears but in my head, a myriad of thoughts had begun to fill my mind...
She's not going to remember me.
Is she hungry?
Is she crying?
Oh, of course she's crying because she misses her mama.
She HAS to miss me as much as I miss her.
This is going to mess her up. Great, I've been her mama for 12 weeks and I've already messed her up.
Wait, I have to pump.
Is this meeting ever going to be over?
Is it rude to just get up in the middle of a meeting and announce that you have to go pump your breast milk?
How do people do this?!
Yes, I can get that report done by the end of the week.
Of course, I can get caught up and back up to speed. I'm ready to go!
Wait, no, I'm not. I'm ready to go back to my baby.
Don't you people understand? I'm a mom now!
I can't be here!!!
The silent circus mind of this working mom began on that day and has never stopped.
She remembered me when I came home. In fact, as I picked her up, I was met with a bright, happy smile that I'm sure was meant just for me. Because she got me. She felt that I struggled to be gone and that I missed her. And I want to believe that she missed me, too.
All these years later, it physically gets easier to leave, but it doesn't get any easier in my heart. Truth be told, I travel more for work now than I ever have. She has two younger sisters that also ask me if I have to go and can I work at their school so that I can be with them every day. They tell me to count the number of "sleeps" that I'll miss while I'm gone. That's hard. No getting around that one. It pulls on the heart strings like nothing else.
Yet, I've learned it's not so bad. I've learned that they won't forget me. In fact, now with amazing technology they can FaceTime me anytime they want. It's a blessing that I can connect with them anytime. I may not be physically there all the time but it's a connection, a bridge back to the lovely ladies that color my world.
That silent circus mind? It sounds a little different now whether I'm on the road or not. I'm starting to think it's a silent 'to-do' list that is born in our heads the moment we become parents. A psychological connection that the brain knows to turn on the moment we begin to care for another human.
Did she do her homework?
Oh, gosh, what do you mean they have to wear their school shirts tomorrow?
Where is that darn shirt?
Did they poop today? Remember to ask them if the pooped today.
Gymnastics lessons? Yes, of course...wait I missed the deadline? Nuts! I missed the deadline!
This is going to mess her up. Great, I've been her mama for 10 years and I've already messed her up...
And on and on it goes. Catch me in 7 or 8 years and the silent circus mind will likely be a listing of a multitude of other worries like college, dating, driving (oh, God, do they really have to learn to drive?).
But guess what? I love that silent circus mind. It means that I am a mama. It means that I have three lovely ladies that fill my heart with such happiness and joy! You know, there was a time that I didn't think I would have one child, let alone three. I'll save that for another day but the point is, sometimes the silent circus mind can get so overwhelming and I think that I can't do it or that I didn't do it right or that, damn it, I missed the gymnastics deadline. But, beyond all of that I get to cherish the joys of being a mama.
I may leave, but I always come home. And when I do, there's nothing like being greeted by three beautiful smiles, three HUGE hugs, and three amazing ladies that get to walk with me on our bountiful bridge of happiness.