Last month I received a surprise phone call from the vet clinic where I used to work. They wanted to start offering dog grooming services, and they wanted me to head up the operation so to speak. I'll be honest...the thought of making my own money again was tempting. They said they would work around my hours and I started thinking that it might be something I would be interested in, so I went in with Topher to discuss the position with the clinic manager. I thought maybe I could work in the evenings or on the weekends, as those are the hours that TJ would be home with the little guy. It became clear very quickly that they needed someone a few days a week, and that they were expecting me to find part-time daycare for Topher. As I listened to the manager tell me how great daycare has been for her 3-month-old son, I watched Topher walking around smiling his little devil grin while he tried to get into the supply cabinets, and then go squealing off around the corner after the clinic's resident cat. And although I tried to keep an open mind about it and listen as I was told that it would be great to have something that is "just for me" and some time away from home, I knew right then and there that it wasn't going to work out. See, there have actually been many times when I have joked that I was ready to go back to work because staying home is just too mundane or too frustrating or too repetitive. But then what? If I'm not taking care of Topher, that just means someone else is and who in the world could give him the love and attention that I give him? Absolutely no one. Yes, I have my moments where I have to take a deep breath and wonder if anything I’m doing is right. But then I think of all the times during the day when I tickle Topher into a belly laugh, or when he helps me do the laundry, or when he shuffles through my makeup bag as I’m getting ready and ends up applying blush to the top of his head, or when we dance together to the Glee soundtrack. Even on the days when nothing really “happens”, so much happens. And most importantly, when Topher is older and all I‘m left with is a library of baby videos and pictures, I will have no regrets. I know every bump and bruise he’s ever gotten, I’ve heard his every new word, I’ve watched every milestone unfold, and I have never left him to cry alone. I am very aware that I only get one chance at this. And there is nothing I want more than to be able to tell Topher that I gave him my all, even when I thought I couldn’t. See, I realize that I'm one of the lucky ones, one of those women who have a choice whether they want to stay home or not. And when the choice was right there in front of me, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.
I have my whole life to work, but I only have a few years to raise my beautiful son. In the end, it was a very easy choice. As Topher slept, I wrote an email rejecting the offer. Then I smiled as I heard my son saying "bup, bup" into the baby monitor, trusting and knowing that I would always be there on the other side of it to hear him.