In the nearly four years since my daughter was born, I have spent almost every Friday with her. When I went back to work after my 4 months of maternity leave were up, I chose a compressed schedule that allowed me the opportunity to spend one day during the week with her. After I lost my job and began focusing efforts on my business ventures, I still spent Fridays with her. Mornings were often kind of lazy and then we’d go and do something before lunch and naptime. We didn’t always do a whole lot, but it was our day and we both looked forward to it as the week winded down.
At bedtime, we typically talk about the schedule for the following day. Thursday nights were a happy recitation: “Mommy, when I wake up in the morning, I’m going to spend the day with you!”
On Tuesday, I’m starting a contract job. It will run for a few months and it’s also 5 days a week. No more Fridays. It was too good of an opportunity to pass up. In the fall, my daughter is going to Pre-K and will be in school 5 days a week. Emotionally, I have been preparing myself for that transition but hadn’t expected this one to happen so soon. I’d hoped to hold on to our Fridays together until she went to Pre-K.
I haven’t talked to her about this change. I really can’t bring myself to do it yet. It makes me too sad to talk about it to her, and I also don’t want to create any undue anxiety. I teach Reiki and see clients on the weekends, and that can be confusing enough. Some weekends I’m home and others I’m not. She is very much a child that likes her routines and wants to know exactly where everyone is going to be from day to day.
Today – our last Friday together – was an exceptionally lovely day in Atlanta, warm and sunny. I let my daughter decide what she wanted to do, which was go to the park and then to Chick-Fil-A for lunch. She has finally learned how to swing on her own, and I delighted in watching her. At her urging, I attempted to swing next to her, but over the years I’ve developed vestibular sensitivity and no longer enjoy the sensation very much. However, there was a brief moment when the discomfort subsided and I could feel that simple joy once again. I’d forgotten what a magical thing it is to defy gravity, if only for such a brief time.
One of the hardest things about being a parent is saying goodbye to these moments. You think your children will never reach certain milestones, and then before you know it, they’ve moved on to something else. You think you’ll have all the time in the world with them – and then it’s gone. I know there are many things I could have probably done better as a mother, but having our Fridays together was one thing I know I did right. It was a gift of time and presence we gave to each other. I’m going to miss it – and her – very much.
(Photo copyright Dana Lisa Young – may not be used without express permission)