". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Of Mommies and Babies and Moments

Last week I did some piano accompanying for a local school. On Tuesday I went to the school for several hours in the morning. At one point, between rehearsals, the choir director went to her office and returned excitedly, cell phone in hand. "I just got a text from the babysitter! My baby just rolled over for the first time!" She was thrilled, and if she felt any sadness at missing this milestone, she didn't show it.

On Saturday I drove almost two hours to meet the same director and her choirs at a choral festival in a different city. I left at 5:45 in the morning and returned five hours later. The choir director had told me at our Tuesday rehearsal that the school buses would be leaving at 5:15 a.m. and not returning until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. since after the festival the students would be spending the day at a nearby amusement park. That mommy who missed her baby rolling over on Tuesday spent all of Saturday, her supposed "day off," apart from her baby.

When I had my first child I was teaching high school English. I would usually leave for school at 7:00 a.m. so as to allow myself sufficient time to drive to work (a 30-minute drive) and prepare for the day before students came. Leaving as soon as I was allowed to do so at the end of the day, I would get home at about 4:15. I am thankful that after my baby was born he did not have to spend time in day care or with paid babysitters, as my husband's schedule at the time allowed him to care for the baby several days per week and my mom watched him the other days. That first day I drove away at 7:00 a.m. after six weeks' maternity leave, knowing I would not return for over nine hours, I could hardly drive for the tears. But at least I got to come home after school, and I got my weekends off (albeit with plenty of grading brought home). I can't imagine having to go back to school for evening or weekend events (common for public school music teachers). By God's grace this situation lasted only about six months, as the summer after my first child was born my freelance musician husband received a full-time job offer, whereupon we decided that I would no longer work full-time. From then on I have been a full-time stay-at-home mom/part-time wage-earner. Having experienced what it was like to leave my baby for over 40 hours per week, I have never looked back nor regretted that decision.

To you mommies who are staying home with babies: may God strengthen you for these very hard days, and may He grant many moments to remind you why it's all worth it.

To you mommies who are spending days away from your babies, missing too many moments but doing the best you can with the situation you have been given: may God grant excellent caregivers to watch over your babies while you're away, and may He minimize the time you have to spend apart from your children. As much as possible, babies should be with their mommies. The moments are too quickly gone.

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