Last night my daughter asked me if I was going to work on Saturday. I was working several saturdays a month, so she always wanted to know if it was a work day or a “stay-at-home day.”
I realized it was time to explain things.
She’s five. So inquisitive. Smart beyond her little years. “Why” is a favorite question. All day, every day. (Which both drives me insane and fills me with pride). But she also has anxieties. Sometimes she picks up on adult conversations, snippets of things she shouldn’t hear but we said within ear shot.
What do I say? How do I say it? How will she react?
Losing my job affects her in many ways – no more day care, no eating out, no new toys – but I don’t want my anxiety to impact her happiness. She has nearby loving grandparents who will bridge some gaps (they already spoil the heck out of her with clothes, toys, food, and experiences). But she may have questions I don’t know how to answer, because there are questions I don’t have answers to…yet.
Before I can overthink what to say, I decide to just sit her down and tell her the truth. “Mommy isn’t working anymore.” Why? “They decided they didn’t want me to work there.” Why? “They just did. Sometimes this happens.” I see her brain cycling though things, a puzzled look on her tiny face… I try to shift things. “So this means mommy will be home more and we can do fun things.” A smile.
*exhale, inhale, exhale*
Saturday morning she is playing dress-up. A happy kid. “Can we go to the library?” Sure.
It occurs to me I will be here a lot until I get a job. My old laptop at home will not be sufficient to update and send out my resume. Plus it’s quiet and air conditioned, there’s comfy chairs, I can get some alone time, and the internet is fast. Ok. I can do this.
Later at home, she tells me she loves me and asks if we can look at baby animal pictures online (a favorite pastime for the two of us).
We awww and giggle over the cuteness of puppies and duckies and hippos. She is happy. And so am I.
This is my other therapy. Her little laugh. Her small hand in mine. Her sweet smile that melts my heart. There’s so much weighing on my shoulders right now, but in this moment, right here, I am thankful.