In a long story made extremely short, my husband and I met in Arizona, moved to Nevada after we were engaged, and 5.5 years and one baby later decided to move back. My job is what made our move possible, so Pumpkin and I made the move last March while Mr. G stayed behind to sell the house and look for work. While we managed to see him roughly every two weeks, and I had a lot of help from my in-laws, I spent much of the four months until his permanent move as a single (pregnant) mom, taking care of all of the meals and drop offs and pick-ups and baths and, well, everything. I’m not saying this to complain, but just to explain that Pumpkin and I grew very attached during this time.
When Mr. G got here, it was such a relief to have help, and in the beginning he didn’t have as much work, so he started taking over dropping Pumpkin off and picking her up from school nearly every day. It was something new to a routine she had finally adjusted to, and drop-offs became difficult again. At the same time, I wanted to take advantage of having the help and go into work early one or two days a week before she woke up. I get out the door so much faster on those days, and I get a lot of work done in the early hours when the office is quiet, but I still felt guilty about not seeing her in the morning, so I started leaving her drawings on a little dry erase board if I left while she was sleeping.
In nine months, I’ve left a drawing every single morning that I’ve left before she woke up – usually every week, sometimes twice a week – even after returning to work from maternity leave with Peanut. Some days I have trouble coming up with ideas, but she’s gotten so used to the drawings that she’ll occasionally ask about them on mornings when I’m home.
And then this week, two months after returning to work, I left bright and early, dropped off Peanut, and then, in the car, realized I had forgotten the drawing. I felt awful. I quickly doodled this terrible picture onto a brown paper bag and texted it to Mr. G to show Pumpkin, with an apology for forgetting. But he didn’t see it in time to show her.
When I asked later that night, he told me she’d asked about a new drawing when she woke up in the morning. It seems like such a little thing, but it’s our little thing, and I felt like I blew it. When I spend so much of my week away from my girls, I want them to know I’m thinking of them all day … some days it’s leaving a drawing, and sometimes it’s cutting a sandwich into a star when I’m making the next day’s lunch or sneaking a special treat into the lunch box. This week I asked Mr. G to fix Pumpkin’s lunch more than I have since Peanut was born, no special shapes or treats, and then I forgot the drawing. Once I draw the next picture, she will likely forget that time I forgot … but I doubt I will.