when given the chance.

As a work-outta-the-home Mama, I am accustomed to seeing Penguin and Owl for about 2 hours before work and then again for 4-5 hours in the evening. I always think this is never enough time, but I make peace with it because – well – I have to. Aside from being the sole income earner in the house, I do best with a little external mental stimulation. Some days, I’d prefer a part-time, 4 day a week gig, but hey, we don’t always get the ideal. Sometimes we get the pretty good.

The past few weeks, though, I have been working longer hours in anticipation of an event that just ended about 2 hours ago. I was barely there in the morning for “morning routine” and would get home late enough at night to only spend a little time with the boys before “bedtime routine” kicked into full swing. And you know what? I hated it. Shock, there. But more than that, I was surprised at how disconnected I could feel from the boys with that seemingly minor change in my schedule. I was gone maybe 2-3 hours more during the day. Yet somehow it felt like an unbridgeable lifetime.

I never realized – or maybe I did, but then suffered from a series of forget-me-now brain blips throughout the day – how much Penguin telling me a joke makes me laugh. Or how I can so easily marvel at all the new, clever and just plain silly things that he says. Or how Owl’s smile seems so sweet and shining and pure that I can’t prevent myself from breaking into a grin. So, when I lose out on those extra hours, I lose out on all that. It’s a loss that punches me right in the gut and then sticks out its tongue and says “neener, neener.” Those little things – the smiles and the giggles – are the sunshine to my cloudy day. The icing to my cupcake. The sprinkles to an otherwise plain frosted doughnut.