Next time: A child's great faith
My wee boy, Alister, has great faith in the promise of "next time."
To him, anything is possible in the next go around. And that, along with the joy he takes in the simple stuff (cliché but true), really is the beauty of being three.
Alister, for all his charms, is still hovering in a semi-potty-trained state. So we're in the bathroom with him a lot. He prefers to use the main floor powder room's new low-flush toilet with a fun blue button on the back of the tank. In the bathroom upstairs, he asks, "Next time, Mommy, can you put a button here?"
See? In this alternate reality, mommy might even be a crack toilet MacGyverer, instead of a person who's not sure what to do with a plunger.
But it's both more profound and more heart-wrenching when he applies his next-time faith to the bigger stuff.
Of my recent trip to the BlogHer convention in New York: "But I'll miss you." PAUSE. (Brightening.) "Next time? You go to New York? I come with you, okay?" Me: "Yes!" Alister: "Hurray!"
And earlier this week?
"Um, Mommy, next time, can you not go to work?"
Gulp. Is that, next time I'm raising 3- and 7-year-olds? Next time it's a Wednesday?
"Well, I have to go to work tomorrow, Honey. (And the day after and the day after and the day after that.) But Saturday, it'll be the weekend and I don't have to go to work then!"
Again with the brightening the triumphant fists and the wide eyes: "Saturday? You don't have to go to WORK? YEAAAAAAAAHHHHH!"
So next time, will I be like those moms my older son likes to compare me to? The ones who work half days and pick their kids up at school each day? Or the ones who work 17-hour weeks spread out over two days in the office and half a day at home? Who know their child's teachers, volunteer on pizza day and schlep their kids to swimming, tennis, karate and Kumon?
Maybe I need to summon some more of my own faith in next time. That I'll be able to overcome more trying times and feel less mired in heavy stuff. That I'll be able to re-imagine my future, post-divorce. That I'll be back to my normal levels of chutzpa and self-belief.
With a face like this to inspire, it's gotta be possible.