The day before my youngest child said "Mama" for the first time I was sweating on the sidelines of my middle son's t-ball practice, holding a screaming baby, a miserable preschooler wrapped around my legs when I noticed that my oldest was not on the playground where he was supposed to be. After a short search, an exasperated "MOM, I'm going POTTY!" from behind a locked stall door, I returned to the regular business of attempting to drum up some enthusiasm for t-ball in my three year old.
And then I went home, put them all to bed, cleaned up the kitchen, and started planning my Earth Science lecture for the next day.
It was an exhausting day, made more exhausting by the fact that my husband was out of town for work. Normally, you see, we are equal partners. He puts the kids down, I clean the kitchen. He does t-ball, I do baby bedtime. I plan my class, he runs to the store. Things don't work right when one of us is gone.
I taught that lecture (atmospheric pressure and wind) the next morning. I felt like I wasn't getting through, so I ended five minutes early with a promise to go over the material in more detail during that afternoon's lab. Next was a brief meeting with a professor in the education department to discuss an NSF proposal I am working on. She was warm and encouraging and loved my idea and promised to get back to me long before the deadline I proposed.
Floating on that bit of validation, I walked into the campus dining hall to get my lunch. As I stood at the register, I spotted my baby across the room in the arms of his babysitter. I considered hiding, because I was getting my lunch to-go and didn't want to upset him, but before I could decide, he spotted me.
His whole face lit up and he waved at me, so excited. And that's when it happened. He said "Mama!" Mama! Not "muh-muh" which means "more milk". I risked the confused tears and scooped him up for a quick snuggle before going back to my office to take care of my sixteen twenty-year-olds. When I left he was sitting among the group of on-campus friends he has lunch with three days a week, basking in their attention and eating all the diced peaches he wanted.
Have you ever thought about how you would begin your memoir? Write your Page 1 and leave a comment and I'll link them all up here on Monday!