It’s been a tough week, and this morning as I drove my son to daycare I could feel the last of my patience fly out the window. I was convinced my battery was empty, but somehow the routine was still being followed and the work was still getting done. Over the past few days I had gone from irritated, to exhausted, to autopilot, to pretty damn okay, to manic, and now back to the beginning but fuck it it’s Wednesday and let me have some cake. And then I got to the daycare and was immediately shooed away and sent home with Leo still squirming in my arms.
There was a covid outbreak in Leo’s class. We immediately took our little family to get tested, and whether positive or negative, we’ll need to keep him home with us for almost three weeks of isolation while we are both working our slightly-more-than-full-time hours. Which brings me to now: Day One. Our basement flooded recently so all of the furniture from down there has been brought up to our main floor. It’s cramped, but the extra couches are excellent for toddlers who have recently discovered their love of running over them. My husband and I are sharing our kitchen table as an office during this period of adjustment. I don’t love working within view of the dishes in the sink, but this way I also have a full view of the playground, I mean living room. Within an hour of breakfast, the space has been transformed. There is a trail of tiny playdough crumbs leading to the staircase, which Leo is halfway up because I sneezed and had to look away for a MILLISECOND. There are miniature Lion King figurines EVERYWHERE. And I mean everywhere because I just stepped on one while trying to avoid stepping on another one. By lunchtime, scattered fish flakes and overcooked sweet potato are stuck between the floorboards. Some of the food has reached the couch. Most of it is stuck in Leo’s hair. He’s screaming because the playlist has landed on Hakuna Matata. “No worries” my ass. Once I figure out why he is screaming, I click back to the one song that calms him in these moments… the one where Mufasa dies. He picks up the figurine I just stepped on and kisses it. He offers it to me for a kiss. Scar, the cold-blooded murderer, is who my son believes most deserving of affection. I kiss the little plastic lion with as much gusto as I can muster, and Leo smiles brightly at me. God damn it he is cute. It’s been a long day, but these little moments are the ones I live for.
I love him so much. So so much. I could try to describe it, but those who know the feeling I’m talking about also know that it’s not something one can articulate accurately. It’s so much that it almost makes me annoyed with myself for being capable of that kind of vulnerability. At the same time it feels like I won a small fortune that some person in charge is going to realize was a mistake at any moment. Because does anyone really deserve this kind of love? The subtle yet somehow explosive love that quietly builds throughout the tantrums and the fatigue and then threatens to rip your heart from your chest when they smile at you? Yeah, I deserve it. Everyone deserves this. Because this is the love that makes everything else worth it.