Promise to Patch

Patch woke up sad this morning. He came to breakfast fairly willingly, but ran back to bed right afterward. I found him there, curled into a little ball under his covers.

“What’s the matter kiddo?” I asked. He looked at me with his big blue eyes, but did not answer. I climbed into bed with him and reached my arm around him. I remembered his words of the day before, wishing that I did not have to go away to the symposium.

“I’ll tell you what, I promise that I won’t go anywhere today unless I take you with me.”

Patch’s shoulders unhunched and his eyes met mine. “Really? You’ll stay home?”

“Really.” I answered. “I’m not planning to go anywhere today, except church and I promise to take you with me. In fact, tomorrow is a holiday. I promise to stay home tomorrow too.”

Patch grinned and hugged me. “Okay.” Then he climbed out of bed to get dressed.

The promise to stay home is a familiar one. I think I made exactly the same promise to my kids last year. Local shows are hard on them because the world is a topsy-turvey mix of familiar things out of place. It is unsettling, particularly for the younger ones. Promising to stay home provides a way to reassert to the kids that they have a primary importance in my life.

I used to agonize over these times when I have to step out of my mother role. I worried that taking off my mother hat for two or three days in a row would cause long term harm. I don’t worry so much anymore because they stabilize quickly afterward. A three day break in good patterns is not a cause for concern. Vacations cause the same amount of readjustment afterward. So I no longer agonize, or worry endlessly. Instead I have a quiet guilty voice that whispers and I make promises to my kids. Then I keep the promises. Tomorrow will be a day with no agenda. I’ll get stuff done, but the rhythm of the day will be dictated by the mommy stuff rather than the business stuff.