Orked is taken great care of by her lovely grandparents and fun aunts everytime I have to be at work. The comforting knowledge of my daughter being in great hands is something I am entirely grateful of. In (frequent) moments of doubt, I console myself by the idea that we're both not missing much. That it's just several hours. And out of that several hours, at least a quarter of it is spent napping (by Orked, at least). So she isn't missing much, is she? And hey, there IS the weekend, right? And the public holidays. And the occasional sick leaves. And the intended sick leaves. And the very few remaining annual leaves applied just because. I call these my SAHM gigs ("SAHM" being "stay-at-home-mom" in case you're not used to these parenting jargons). I get quite a few of these SAHM gigs.
I got another just last two weeks. When Orked's grandparents and aunts were out of town, I had the opportunity to obtain another set of those often-much-anticipated SAHM gigs. The past twelves days were therefore spent running around the house taking care of the little one and occasionally, the house too. Was it hard? Definitely. I was alone trying to chase after a toddling toddler who was chasing after the cats who were chasing after me. These, while I was frying eggs and unloading the laundry. Was that at all amazing? You don't know how much. I have made memories I never thought I'd recall of with such fondness.
I love reading to my toddler. And these days, I don't just read to her. I read with her. She reads back something that sounds like "umm num num zig zig ah" to me. And then the puzzles. The building blocks. The impossibly huge stuffed animal that has been glaring at me since the night before. You know those "several hours" from the working hours I often made believe as "not much"? I was wrong. I was crazily wrong. In the past twelve days of being with my daughter all day, I have learned that when she points out the window and goes "bark!" she's referring to the "bird". I have learned that cats are known as "num num" because "num num" sounds like "meow meow". I have learned that whenever she points at her ear, she's referring to that book we read about body parts where "nose" and "eyes" and "ears" are all really just her left ear. I have learned that after another day of reading and introducing another word to her, she can most likely say it back the next day even if it sounds only half accurate. I have learned that whenever we come across that page with a picture of a frog, she'd be pointing at Mr Froggy, the huge stuffed animal still glaring at me. I watched her grow.
And then I got back to work. On my first day of return, I looked at the computer screen only to recall my daughter's voice calling out "num num" and then I wondered what other new word she was possibly learning to mutter now. And then I ran to the surau and cried. You don't know how much I'd love to read with her everyday, chase after her chasing the cats but again, learn another word another day.
I get these occasional bouts of sadness when I am at work now. But I tell myself, that maybe this is the time for me to get closer to Allah. I am trying my best to be a better servant to Allah, and inshaaAllah, by His will, a mother who watches her child grow.
I will make that happen. I will. InshaaAllah.