Friday, March 23, 2007

For One Day, I Was That Woman

I would never claim to have a high pressure job. In the past four months, I've stayed until 5:30, which is when our office "closes" down, about five times. The rest of the time, I leave early at 5 or 5:15.

I've had to work late once, and it was earlier this week, where I left the office right before 6.

And then yesterday, the world came to an end. Well, not really came to an end, I mean there was no blinding light or alien attack or implosion of our hot lava core. But at my office, things were in turmoil. Something bad was going on. And because I'm the PR girl, it meant that I got to be involved.

Which is exciting, in the way that I'm getting to learn new stuff. But at the same time, it's stressful and this situation is going to affect a lot of people, and now that I'm in my 30's and a mother, I can no longer ignore the impact of things on other people and my heart aches as I do what I have to do.

Sweetie Pie had a business dinner last night, so the plan had always been for me to pick up the Little Man (as usual), pick up some yummy fast food, eat it with my favorite toddler, give him a bath, read 'Pots and Pans', his current favorite book five times in a row, put him to bed and watch Grey's Anatomy while sipping on a couple of glasses of rose in my pajamas.

Instead, I had to get on a conference call at 5:30. My brain, living in a constant state of denial, figured "hey, this can't possibly last more than half an hour, because really, a situation this big can totally be resolved quickly."

My brain was wrong.

The daycare closes at 6:30.

At 6:15, I began to panic.

I grabbed my cell phone and started dialing into the conference line while telling our VP of Global Communications that I had to go, that I'd still be on the call, but I had to go get my kid.

Being a dad himself, he was fine with it. "Go, go!" He said.

And I ran through the parking lot, my cell phone glued to my ear.

And I drove like a fiend to the daycare, arriving there at 6:23.

My cell phone still in my ear, I burst into the classroom where Little Man stood by himself. His little face was excited to see me and he started jabbering away at me.

Since my phone doesn't have mute, I shushed him. I grabbed his paper from the teacher, while being a complete bitch and only acknowledging her for a second and then I ran out of the daycare with my baby.

While strapping him in the car, he began asking me for food. I shushed him again, as nicely as I could.

And that's when his little face fell apart.

And the wailing started.

And I put my hand over his mouth, because I didn't know what else to do.

And his eyes got this look of fear and sadness and horror in them that I'll never forget.

And that's when I put the phone down, and I just held my son in that parking lot, because at that moment, there was nothing more important than him. And I felt so horrible forgetting that fact, even if it was for only a few minutes.

I gave him a rice krispy square, the dinner of champions and then we drove home, me still on that conference call, him sniffling away in the back seat, his lip still distorted in a pout over his mother becoming a corporate hag who had her priorities messed up.

But then my call ended, I went through the McDonald's drive through and let Little Man eat only honey mustard, fries, and the caramel sauce from his apple dippers.

And then I tickled him until he had the hiccups.

And then I read 'Pots and Pans' to him 8 times.

And then I read it to him three more times.

This morning, when I showed up at work, somebody on that call asked me if my toddler was ok. I told her what happened, kind of horrified. And she said to me, "obviously it wasn't disruptive, since the call went on like nothing happened." And she told me that next time, I shouldn't feel guilty for saying "you know what, you guys, I have to take care of my toddler. Brief me after the call on what I need to do."

And the crazy part? I know they mean it.

And that it wouldn't be held against me.

And next time? I will do it. And not make my son cry and feel like I don't love him enough to hear about his day in toddler talk.

Because nothing is more important to me. And if I forget again, please feel free to slap me upside the head.




random_mommy said...

i know that look, i saw it once and it made my insides freeze up. but... we're better mommies now- after experiencing the look, the likelihood of it happening again is nil.
go catwoman! go LM!

no one can silence the LM.

Julie said...

I know this is lame but the first thing I thought of after reading your post was I really hope you didn't let LM eat the honey mustard dip and caramel sauce in the car! It's nice you work for an understanding company. Hope the problem was resolved quickly!

Catwoman said...

Haha Julie! No, Little Man ate his condiments in his chair at home. Although, it's amazing how cleanly he eats when it's something he loves... Sigh...

Kellie said...

We've all done or said something that made us "that"'re still an awesome Mommy to LM!!

Elle said...

AWWWW we all have those days. Hats off to the working mom!!!

Alpha Dude 1.5 said...

What an awesome mommy.

That Chick Over There said...

Yep. You rock. :)