With Papa gone for training my work load at home has gotten a wee bit heavier. It's my turn to take out the trash and walk the dogs, to clean the bathroom and make sure my boy gets enough rough housing and wild play to keep him straight. Some of this extra work I could do without, I really hate cleaning the bathroom.
I tucked Jules in at 8, the golden hour for me these days. Finally I can eat a good dinner, take a shower, zone out in front of the tv or read, and most importantly - sit down. I think I've been a bit quick to rush through bedtime lately, eager for the long day to end, as Jules has taken to coming out 15, 20, even 30 minutes later asking for more loving. Tonight I turned around from loading the dishwasher to hear my boy say, "that's just not enough lovin' mama". So I scooped him up and asked him if I need to come lay down and fill his tank with some extra loving.
We laid there for awhile talking about what it was like when he was a baby. He's fascinated with facts about where he slept and what songs we sung to him. There are so many we still sing, most of all the Julian song that Papa wrote for him, Jules can spell his whole name because of that song. After a few songs and many kisses and squeezes and "lovins", as J says, I asked him if his tank was full yet?
"What tank Mama, like a tanker truck?"
I explained that inside of him, right near his heart, there is a tank. At first he didn't believe me so I offered to tell him how it works. I told him how Papa and I fill his tank with all kinds of love: hugs and kisses, snuggles, kindness, time, etc.
"Do you have a tank Mama?"
So I told him how we all have tanks and that everyone we love and who loves us does things to fill our tanks, and that we do the same for them. He wanted to know who filled my tank so I listed, Julian, Papa...
"Mama, I don't see Papa here, I don't see him anywhere? He's not here to fill your tank up so I can fill it up!"
He lunged at me with a giant bear hug, full on with the force of his never ending enthusiasm, exclaiming over and over that he could fill my tank up.
I couldn't stop crying, my little boy, my baby, is not so little anymore. My Julian is a loving force in this world. He jumps into life with his whole body and his whole heart and he oozes love.
Pete is usually the one who stays behind after stories and songs to squeeze another 5 or 10 minutes out of the day with his boy, talking about anything and everything, filling his tank. I need to be more mindful of my boys' tank and how missing Papa affects him, I think he will sleep the better for it. Some of Papa's jobs aren't extra work, this one has been a reminder of how important each of us is to the balance of our family. It's treasured time and worth putting off my downtime for, though I can't wait for Pete to be able to do it himself. Some things, like rough housing and boy time, just aren't the same with Mama.