When I went back to work full-time after our first son was born, it broke my heart. It hurt more than I can explain…and the worry. Lord, no one ever told me how much I’d WORRY. And then, when I had to go back to work full-time again after our second son was born, it hurt even more. I felt like I was failing as a mother and I felt like I was falling apart. On and on it went, those negative thoughts in my head. I wanted to be at home with them (still do) and to spend my time with them. I can’t tell you how much my heart hurt and how much I cried each and every day on my way to work (and sometimes, I still do).
Eventually, I changed to a schedule that let me come in to work at 7, leave at 5:30 and have every Friday off. It was a hard schedule. I had to leave our house by 6:15 to get to work on time. But, believe it or not, that wasn’t the hardest part. Now, on a schedule that begins at 6 a.m. and requires me to leave our house at 5:15, that’s still not the hardest part.
The hard part was, and continues to be, that I wouldn’t be there when they woke up. I wouldn’t be the one to see their first smile each morning, to get their first snuggle of the morning or just to hold them while they’re all sweet and cuddly. Hunter was. And, boy, did I resent that. I cried. I was mad at the world. And I let THAT get to me for the longest time. I knew I needed to let it go and to focus on those moments I do have…night time snuggles, the smell of their hair after a bath, curling up in the bed with them to watch a cartoon before bed, the way JP tucks his feet up underneath me to warm them (like I do his Daddy) and how JL throws his arm across me (like his Daddy does me). I had to change my attitude.
One night, I was tucking JP in the bed and I grabbed one of his hands and then then other and I kissed each hand several times. Through my tears, I told him that it was kisses for his pockets, in case he needed them in the morning and I wasn’t there to give them. It became a routine. I did it every night. Eventually, he started to close his fists around them which melted this old heart like butter. And then one night, he grabbed my hands and gave my hands kisses. “Kisses for pockets mama,” he said with a smile.
Did you hear my heart shatter into a million pieces? It did. A million billion pieces as he says now, the wise 4 year old.
After JL was born, I continued this little ritual. As a baby, I kissed those tiny palms. As a 2 year old, I kiss them, rough and dirty as they are sometimes. Both boys, each night, hold out their hands for kisses for their pockets—to have them to pull one out if they need it the next day. And they give me my kisses too. JL (the younger) has just started giving me back kisses for my pockets. The sweet, sweet sound of tiny lips popping kisses into my palm…I hope and pray that I never, ever forget the warmth of those lips and those sweet sounds.
And I’ll be honest. I need those kisses in my pockets every.single.day.
Just a memory that I wanted to get recorded for my boys and for myself. I love you both more each and every day. And I’m thankful that God gave YOU to me.
1000 Gifts #1: Kisses for my pockets