Because I Am Home
Tye, at 5 years old – “My name is Tye. But when I need to save someone, my name is Laser Finger.”
Photo by Brook Hollis
I want to open this blog with a disclaimer – I do NOT believe being a SAHM is better than being a working mom. I do not believe that being a working mom is better than being a SAHM. I do not believe that one is right and one is wrong. I believe that different choices are right for different people.
Sometimes, however, what is right for one person changes over time. That is what happened to me.
For many years, being a working mom was the right thing for me. I honestly think I would’ve been a pretty horrible mom to 2 toddlers, if I’m being honest with myself. I lacked patience and needed the escape that my job provided. Having a day job allowed me the chance to recharge so that I was 100% present when I was home, rather than being partially present 100% of the time. In addition to all these factors, we really needed my income. I understand the drive, the desire, and the necessity of being a working mom. And I applaud those women who can balance both.
It is not easy.
So now that I have put forth my disclaimer, I have decided to post my annual letter to my son, who just turned 6. Every year around Cassidy or Tye’s birthday, I take some time to reflect on (and journalize) our experiences from the past year. And as a bonus, I’ve listed few quotes (from 5-year-old Tye) at the end of the letter. J
Welcome to my journal entry.
Like every year so far, this past year has seen a lot of change in our lives. The biggest change (outside of the fact that you are, unbelievably, a year older) is that I quit my job to be home with you guys.
And it is the best decision I’ve made in a long, long time.
There are a lot of moms out there who, like me (for so many years), have not had the option of staying home with their kids. In addition to that, many women have an internal drive to work and make a difference outside of the home. This is a drive I both understand and share. It is why I now write picture books. It is why I blog.
That being said, my ultimate purpose has never been more clear than it is now. I was not just put here to be a mom… I was put here to be your mom. Your sister’s mom. And for me, at this time in my life, being home with you has fulfilled me in ways I never dreamed possible.
Tye, you have always been a burst of light. You are my little ping pong. You listen horribly, you wake me way too often in the middle of the night, and you still have more accidents than you should… but it is so hard to stay angry with you. You are the sweetest, most empathetic little 6-year-old boy I’ve ever seen. You can’t stand to let me down, and you are so cuddly that I often think you would crawl back into my womb if you could.
No, seriously. I think you would.
You have started to dabble in independence. Because I am home, I get to watch this growth first-hand. I watch you choose your mismatched outfits, talk you out of wearing flip-flops in the snow
And now, 5 weeks later, you are potty trained at night.
Because I am home, I was able to keep up with your progress at school. You were in JK this year at St. Francis under the impassioned, patient tutelage of Mr. Andrew Frechette. I received emails
First of all, Tye’s fine and in good spirits, but this is a new one for me.
While returning from P.E., Tye tucked his arms inside his shirt, crouched down, and stuffed his knees up underneath his shirt as well. The result is something I can only describe as a “Tye Ball” that crouch-waddled down the hall in a very self-satisfied manner. Problems arose when “Tye Ball” lost his balance, and lacking arms and hands to catch himself, face-planted on the rug.
There were some initial tears (and some lingering scrapes/redness), but Tye has rebounded quickly and put the incident behind him. We discussed some modifications for the Tye Ball, namely keeping our hands out of our shirt for improved aerodynamics and potential safety measures.
Of course I never want to hear that you’ve hurt yourself, but I must admit… I laughed out loud at this email. Although written with flavor, all of Mr. Frechette’s emails didn’t always make me laugh, though. You had some issues with personal space and sharing. Once, you shattered the class iPad because you were frustrated. Another time you learned a new word from one of your classmates (the “F” word, I’m not so proud to say), and wanted to share your new vocabulary with everyone within earshot. Sometimes, you were just in your own world and unaware of everything happening around you:
At some point, Tye did a wrestling divebomb through a tower of blocks, sending blocks flying and making quite a racket in the process. While I commend Tye for style points, it was rather disruptive for the sleeping 3 year olds in the adjacent class.
Yup. That’s my Tye.
Then there was always the email that I got with the subject line, “Tye exposing himself.” Or the one that described your effort to play hide-and-seek without telling anyone. You disappeared for 10+ minutes while teachers tore through the halls and classrooms looking for you, only to find you giggling under a table in the empty art room. Or this classic:
We’re still working on listening skills, and keeping hands to ourselves. He also yelled “vagina” rather loudly at some point, but that’s one of those outburst things he and I are working on.
Every day, you give me a run for my money. You definitely still have a tough time listening and your words flow a little too freely, but you want to listen better. You want to please me, your daddy, and your teachers. You always tearfully cry, “Can we please just start over?” when you’ve done something that you know you shouldn’t have done. So… instead of pulling out my hair, I hug you. We talk about what happened. What should have happened. What we hope will happen next time.
And then… we start over.
Because I am home.
You are always so full of creativity. Because I am home, I not only get to witness this, but I get to be a part of it. This past year, you decided you wanted to be Om Nom for Halloween, despite the fact
Because I am home, I never miss your extracurriculars. You still love gymnastics and take lessons every Saturday. Somehow, even with all the padding and foam blocks, you still manage to acquire a variety of cuts and bruises each week. You are working on cartwheels (your favorite thing), somersaults, trampoline exercises, headstands, handstands – and you’re actually pretty good! You’ve also taken piano, which you have loved (much to my delight). You are playing with both hands now and have a pretty good sense of the notes on the keyboard, quarter/half/whole notes, and rests. Your teacher said that, at 5 years of age, you were playing much of the same material as most of his first graders! Your only limitation was your 5-year-old coordination. It is difficult for someone so young to isolate fingers, but you focus really hard and manage to do a great job. I’m very proud of all you’ve accomplished on the piano in the past year.
Because I am home, I have heard you expand your vocabulary first-hand. Driving home from school one day, you insisted that your cousin “made” you say the F word, which is why you had gotten into trouble that day. When I explained that other people cannot “make” you do anything, you were emphatic. “NO, Mama, NO!,” you insisted. Your voice was still the high, sweet timbre of a 5-year-old boy. It was both shocking and inappropriately amusing then to hear you say, “He MADE me say it, Mama. He said, ‘Tye, say, ‘Gimme a f*$%in’ sucker!’”
Another day, you were sitting at the table playing with the iPad. Cassidy and I were in the kitchen talking:
Cassidy – “I learned a new word today.” Me – “You did? What did you learn?”
Cassidy – “I don’t want to say it. It’s a bad word. It’s the F-U word.”
Me – “No, you don’t want to say that one. That’s a cuss word.”
(out of nowhere, never looking up from the iPad)
Tye – “I KNOW A CUSS WORD! “F*ck. F*ck is a cuss word. And so is sh*t. Sh*t is a cuss word, too.”
Had I been on the road with work, I would have missed these gems.
Because I am home, I no longer miss talent shows. At the end of the school year, you made a last-minute decision to entertain everyone with your karate skills, despite having never taken a karate class in your life. You gathered your 3 karate compadres for a pow-wow prior to hitting the mat, and everyone giggled as you appeared more interested in directing the action than actually starting it.
Because I am home, I have gotten to know some wonderful parents at your school. I could recognize a few faces over the first two years that we lived in Louisville, but now I have actually some incredible friendships. As a result, I can be there when other parents need help, and I can nurture your friendships along the way.
Because I am home, I no longer miss doctor appointments. When the school calls and you are sick, I no longer panic because I’m in an airport in Atlanta and have to try to find emergency back-up. I no longer wonder what the doctor thinks of me because I’m not there to nurse you back to health. When the school calls because you just threw up, it is now my job to come and get you.
And I love that job.
Because I am home, you have stability. I get to wake you every morning, and put you to bed every night. You have a routine, which you have craved since you were born. You are still jubilant every morning when you wake, even though you wake way too early most mornings. We read together every night, we say prayers, and then you ask for Jingle Bells. After that, I say, “One, two, THREE!” On three, we touch our right index fingers to the palm of our left hands… and our “equal love powers” are restored, ensuring that neither one of us will ever love one more than the other.
Because I am home, I no longer have to watch you cry from the doorstep as I leave for a business trip.
Now, when you cry, I am there to hold you.
Because I am home.
I love you, little man. I love that I am around to teach you. To mold you. To guide you.
To learn from you.
I don’t want to blink, because it is all passing by way too quickly. Too soon, your clothes will match, the bedwetting alarm will be gone, and you won’t want Jingle Bells sung to you at night. Too soon, you won’t want kisses for your boo boos, help washing your hair, or books read to you in bed. Too soon, you will be all grown up.
“Five” is gone, and there is much I will miss. But I cannot wait to watch every moment that “6” will bring.
And I will.
Because I am home.
I had a really, REALLY hard time choosing my favorite quotes/moments from the past year. In fact, I had such a hard time that I am now committed to turning their quotes into an official book. For now, however… here are my top 16 TYE-isms from age 5:
5/11/15 – (when eating birthday cake) “Mama, enjoy your life. Because you’re eating cake.”
6/2/15 – “If you want a hug, I’m the person you should call. Because I’m very good at hugging. I have hugging super powers.”
6/21/15 – At bedtime:
Me – “I love you.”
Tye – “I love you more.”
Me – “I love you most.”
Tye – “No, I love you more than that. And I will love you more until you’re a zombie. But that’s not right now. That’ll be a long time away.”
8/3/15 – “If there is a giant donut in this world, could we eat it and be naked?”
8/10/15 – Tye (5yo) – “I wanna die last. You know why?
Greg and me, wide-eyed – “No, why?”
Tye – “Because if you die first, I can have as much candy as I want.”
8/19/15 – Tye got his penis stuck in a bubble wand at bath time.
8/23/15 – Tye comes into my room, giddy.
Tye – “What’s wrong with me, Mama?”
Me (trying to keep a straight face) – “You’re not wearing your underwear right.”
Tye – “That’s right! My penis is hanging out of my underwear!”
10/10/15 – Out of nowhere today:
Tye – “I love you. I love you AND your husband.”
10/16/15 – Me – “Hey Tye, guess who comes home tonight??” (correct answer: Daddy)
Tye – (thinking) …”The pizza man?”
11/7/15 – Me – (finding Tye trying to step into a drawer of underwear after leaving him alone for 5 seconds) “What are you doing? You’re gonna break your dresser!”
Tye – “I’m sorry.”
Me – (exasperated)”You’re acting like a 2-year-old today! I have to watch everything you’re doing!”
Tye – “Then why am I talking? 2-year-olds don’t talk. They say blah blah blah. You can understand me.”
Me – (growl)
Tye – “Did you get sleep?”
12/1/15 – One of Tye’s friends is uncircumcised, which led to the following conclusions on his part (out of the blue) this morning:
Tye (right after getting up this morning) – “My penis is getting long this morning. It’s really nervous.”
Me – “Yeah, that happens in the mornings sometimes.”
Tye – “But did you know X’s penis looks like an asparagus? But you don’t eat it. That would be disgusting.”
“And mine looks like a hot dog.”
12/11/15 – Tye – “Did you know peacock feathers are venomous?”
Me – “Who told you that?”
Tye – “Aren’t they? Well, if you eat them, they are. If you eat them, you will get hairy balls.”
Me (choking) – “What did you say??”
Tye – “If you eat them, you will get hairy balls.”
(Me – trying with everything in me not to laugh)
Cassidy (seriously) – “You mean hairballs, Tye.”
2/23/16 – Tye – “If you like someone, does that mean you’re in love?”
Me – “No, not necessarily.”
Tye – “I like Cali.”
Me – “That’s good! I like Cali, too.”
Tye – “Yeah, Cali is cute. She doesn’t have skid marks.”
3/9/16 – Cassidy – “I’m gonna make another leprechaun trap. And a house.”
Me – “What kind of house?”
Cassidy – “A house for the leprechauns.”
Tye – “I’m gonna make a trap for them, too.”
Me – “You are?”
Tye – “Yup. I’m gonna make a death trap.”
4/1/16 – After Tye pooped and I sprayed air freshener:
Tye – “It smells so much better in here… It smells like victory.”
4/2/16 – We were watching this video (showing a squirrel named Jill) this morning and had this conversation:
Me – “Isn’t she cute? She was rescued from a hurricane.”
Cassidy – “What’s a hurricane?”
Greg – “It’s a really big storm with strong winds.”
Tye – “Huh. Good thing it wasn’t a stampede.”