I woke up in Atlanta this morning.
Normally that would be fine. But today it’s hard. Today is my youngest son’s birthday.
He’s at home. And I’m in Atlanta.
Working mom shame.
I’m doing this wrong.
He’s probably going to be on a therapist’s couch at age 32 because of abandonment issues stemming from his Mom’s business trip on his 5th birthday.
But given I am here, and he is there, I did what I normally do on Tuesdays and went for a run. At first I was sad. And then I got irritated. Just hang on one second here...
What exactly was I beating myself up about?
I called him first thing to tell him how much I love him. I sang him Happy Birthday, and sent him off to have a great day - all the things I would have done if I was there, minus actually being there.
He hung up the phone happy as a horse. (Not Maximum Security.)
No, I couldn’t physically be there because life happens. Real life. And real life happens all the time.
And maybe that’s OK.
Maybe it’s OK that my 5 year old realizes that even on his birthday life doesn’t stop for him.
In a world where culture tells parents to cater to every need of a child, maybe its OK that he realizes the world doesn’t actually revolve around him.
Maybe it’s actually a good thing that he learns that I still love him more than life itself, even if life has me 800 miles away on his birthday?
Reality is that moms can’t have it all, all the time and that work and life rarely actually balance. Real life is give and take - and some days even the 5 year old has to give.
Maybe it’s a good thing that he sees that and feels that and realizes it’s all going to be just fine despite that.
I might actually be making him a better husband and father in the years to come - flexible, willing and supportive. Just like his father.
So maybe I haven’t messed it all up... yet anyway.
Kate Lambert grew up in northern Illinois, not on a farm but active in FFA and showing livestock.
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