This morning, while standing in the shower, thinking (sorry Jane's Addiction), a startling revelation came to me: we did not have child care lined up for Nate today. It was a simple error. Months ago when I registered him for day camp, I opted out of this week, knowing that we'd be at the beach. (And for those thinking of breaking in, we have people who stay at our house while we are gone. And attack pugs.)
Anyhow, at the time I thought, "No biggie, we'll figure something out." Only I didn't. I can give a million reasons why (I was flustered at the registration desk, I was running out of town, or, quite plausibly -- I just blanked). So I was in the shower realizing that I goofed. Day camp was filled. Camp Mommy it was.
This also happened to be the kind of day that I had a list a mile long at the office. So, we packed up the coloring books and DS and headed off to 2100 Lakeshore Drive, where every young boy dreams of going to learn about headline writing and lineup planning and social media. How about the chance to ask some of the foremost experts in food, decorating, gardening and travel? Visit the Test Kitchen?
"Mommy, that's sooo boring!" How to pick the perfect paint color? Learn about artisanal meats?
He just rolled his eyes. Clearly I was pitching this to the wrong demo.
And we were off.
Mother Editor mistake #2: leaving the house without the iPad movie fully loaded. Oops. So old-school collage making and drawing it was. (I even sacrificed some beloved back issues of certain titles for the common good. But don't touch the Dominos, kid, those are off limits.)
He colored and did some "creative re-imagining" with a back issue of O. (Future art director?) And sat fairly patiently while I met with a colleague about an important project. I apologized to everyone for the stray noises that were coming out of my office, including: "Yay Pegasus!"
I've never had to bring him to work for a stretch like this (and not planning on making it a habit). Between Shane and I, and my mom and dad, he has four adults there for him. Plus we're (very fortunate to) also be able to pay for additional help when we need it -- an excellent after-school program, day camp during the summer. I have a supportive work environment with colleagues who understand that hey, things happen. Not everyone has these resources. I know that.
In between making paper airplanes for him and drafting memos, I was reminded of this.
Am I the first parent to bring a kid to work in a pinch? Nope, not by a long stretch. It was just one of those moments that put things in perspective for me.
I'm thankful for this job that I love, and for this family I love, and for wiggle room during moments of imperfection when calendars and planning and brains short-circuit. Paper airplanes and all.
Oh, and as for Nate's future as an editor? He's got it down pat: