I'm the kind of mother who's constantly beating herself up for not being around enough for the kids. And I don't even do an office job. For what it's worth, I am home and available at a moment's notice should the need arise. But the truth is, there's a magazine to run and there are many times in a day when I realise I should've been with my sons for the last hour, playing with blocks, instead of monitoring the online stats on Papercuts or sending out emails to team members. And I feel bad about that - a lot. I know why my younger son starts crying when he sees me pull out the laptop, and why Solom gets agitated when he sees me zipping to the living room (i.e. the laptop's permanent abode).
This afternoon I was heading out to the salon for some quick work and I realised Solom did not want to let me go. We waved 'bye' to each other and I said, "I'll be back soon! See you!" and all the cheerful things one says, but he kept his eyes fixed on me and, with his arm stretched out and with utter distress written all over his face, kept calling out - "Mama? Mama?" He did not want me to go.
I had to go, of course, but I kept wondering why it was such a big deal for him. And then I realised, it's because he never sees me leave. You see, I'm based at home, out of choice, and because we're new in Karachi (and, let's face it, it's big ol' busybusybusy Karachi) I don't go out a lot to hang with friends. So this is what Solom sees every day: he gets dropped off to school by Mama. He comes out of school and Mama is there to pick him up. He goes to play, Mama's waving at the door. He comes back, Mama's waiting for him. So now when Mama was leaving and he was home, he didn't know what to make of it.
And that's when it hit me: I am there for my son. I am. And he knows it. Isn't that awesome?!