Like many Friday mornings, I woke up with fewer than 4 hours sleep from my weekly “networking” event with some of Atlanta’s finest litigators who like to go out for drinks with me.
Me at 0630: I don’t think I can safely take Emilie to school.
Pretty Bride: Well, I can take her on my way to the store if you’ll stay with Owen.
Me: For, like, an hour or two?
PB: No, for the day.
Me: But I have lunch plans. And I need to go into the office…
PB: Then I guess you can drive E to school.
I decided to stay in bed another hour or so and then just take the little man to my office with me. It seemed the lesser of two evils.
It’s not that I don’t love our 1-year-old. It’s just…he doesn’t do much. He barely walks. He hardly knows any words. He’ll sometimes scream for no apparent reason, and his shit smells like shit. We’ve never really spent any time together, just the two of us. I’ve always figured we would when he was older, when I don’t have to be as…nurturing. Besides, he always reaches for, or calls out to, his mother anyway.
I helped him get dressed. I gave him some bananas. I put his shoes on. I carried him into the garage and hooked up his car seat before strapping him in.
We drove out of the ‘hood and onto I-20, listening to CNN on XM. I’d ask him what he thought of the various goings on in our world. He smiled. I’d show him how to merge at 80mph in front of an 18-wheeler. He smiled some more.
We parked in the garage, and I put him onto the concrete and walked toward the door. He slowly took a few steps, stopped to look around at all the parked cars, took some more steps, fell down, got up, and stepped some more. He grinned at me as he approached the glass door I held open.
At some point during his slow, deliberate little trot to the elevator, I became extraordinarily happy to have this little fellow with me, even if it meant not getting much work done. I couldn’t wait for others to see whom I’d brought to work with me.
I watched him explore my office as I checked emails. He dumped business cards all over the floor. Pulled a stash of plantains out of a drawer and dumped them on the floor before eating them. Covered the floor in binder clips. Sat down on couple of fee contracts while mashing buttons on a calculator. He was just so happy and pure that I couldn’t accomplish much more than appreciating how happy and pure he is.
Then he walked into the other offices in my suite. Everyone talked about how cute he was and gave him things to play with. At lunchtime, we walked a couple blocks up the road and sat outside in the sun. My friends were 30min late, so I let him walk around on the fenced-in patio and talk to other patrons. He sat in several laps: a 20-something realtor; a grandmother; a personal injury lawyer. When my lunch companion arrived, he said, “I don’t normally comment on my married friends’ kids–I sort of tolerate them. But, he’s really cute. And so happy.”
After a 2.5 hour lunch, I carried him back to my office. He roamed about the hallway some more and made colleagues smile another half hour or so before I decided we’d better head home for his nap. The 9-mile commute took nearly 90 minutes.
I carried him up to his room and put him to bed. I quietly shut the door, walked onto the landing, sat on the top step, and cried. I didn’t want to be without him while he slept.
I guess I like this quiet, awkward little creature after all.