The Bronze

Have you ever held an Olympic medal?  I haven’t….but my 5 year old daughter has.

Growing up in Vermont, there were a lot of Winter Olympians floating around.  The guy who was a fixture at the ski area, the girl who’d gone to private school in the area, your friend’s brother’s girlfriend’s cousin.  Everyone had a story about somebody who was either going, or had been, to the Olympics.  There was never a shortage of “Hometown Hero” stories on the local news.

Georgia, while full of summer Olympians, is pretty lean on winter athletes.  In fact, this year there was only one Georgian in the Vancouver Games.  And she’s from Douglasville.

Elana Meyers was well on her way to becoming an Olympic Softball player when….well…they announced that they were taking softball out of the Olympics.  In 2007, she made the move to pushing bobsled.  Three years later she had an Olympic Bronze Medal. 

Last weekend, Meyers made an appearance at our local mall.  Amelia was PSYCHED.  This year she was so into the Olympics and she probably would have been excited to meet any Olympian.  The fact that this woman was from her hometown was icing on the cake.

We got there early because we weren’t sure if there would be a crowd.  They were still setting up and it was actually really quiet.  After the photo ops and handshaking with local government officials and bigwigs, Meyers sat down and started greeting people.  After a few minutes of coaching not to be shy, Amelia walked up to the table and smiled.  Elana was very sweet and asked Amelia her name and where she went to school.  Then she asked Amelia if she wanted to see the medal.  During the Olympics, Amelia & I had talked about the medals and wondered how heavy they were, so I knew that she was thrilled to see one in real life.  After a few seconds of politely looking at the medal, Elana told Amelia that she could touch it if she wanted.  Amelia gingerly touched the medal with one finger.  I thought that it would be a neat moment to photograph.  After I took the picture, Elana leaned forward and asked “Do you want to hold it?  You can.”

We took a few more pictures and thanked Elana.  It was a quick meeting, but hopefully it will be a memory that Amelia carries for the rest of her life (until she wins her own Olympic medal hehehe). 

As we were walking away, Amelia looked up at me and said “That was really fun mommy.  Thank you for bringing me” (Awwwww).  Then she said “Mommy…I know that you didn’t get to hold the medal….but it was really heavy.”   *Smile*

Validation From a 5 Year Old

For the most part, I really like being a working mom.  I’m proud to be a working mom.  I enjoy telling people that I’m a working mom.  There are, of course, days that kick my butt and make me feel like I’m doing a half-assed job with everything (parenting, housekeeping, work…).  But, generally, I feel pretty awesome.

That being said, there are things about it that are just…hard.  These things have nothing to do with your ability as a parent.  They don’t happen BECAUSE you’re a good/bad parent and they won’t (necessarily) effect how great you are at being a mom.  You can be the best parent ever, but these things are still going to pop up.  Childcare issues, separation anxiety, exhaustion, unforeseen extra hours at work…they’re all going to get you.

The issue that has been bugging me since last August is my lack of face time with Amelia.  We get up at 7a so Amelia can get to school for 8a.  I pick her up at 2:30 and we’re usually home by 2:45.  Then we have about 30 minutes together before I have to drop both kids at our neighbor’s house and go to work (4p-midnight).  In total, I have about 1 hour with Amelia per day and, in general, at least one of us is scurrying about trying to get dressed and ready for school/work.  In the last seven months, I’ve come to accept this fact.  I don’t like it, but I accept it.  I’ve found the good in the situation- I have a lot of individual time with Zaven (similar to the time I had with Amelia before Z was born), I get to drop Amelia off at school in the morning AND pick her up in the afternoon, I don’t have to be part of the bed-time drama Jason has the opportunity to have his own time with the kids.  We’ve also learned to appreciate the QUALITY of our time together, even though the quantity is lousy.  We snuggle, we laugh, we talk….it’s all good…I just wish there was more of it.

I’ve come to terms with this scenario, but every so often I wonder about Amelia.  Am I selfishly chugging along thinking that we’re all okay and bullying Amelia into agreeing?  Am I so hopped up on my internal pep rally that I’m ignoring my 5 year old’s loneliness?  Every couple weeks, Amelia will make a comment like “I wish you didn’t have to go to work.  I wish you could stay home and play with me”.  It’s never overly dramatic, and it passes.  It’s almost like her saying “I wish I had a pet unicorn” (sure, don’t we all).  But should I worry?

This morning, on the way to school, she let me off the hook.  We heard a Comcast ad on the radio and Amelia misunderstood the “Ditch the dish and get cable” sentiment and said “That’s what you do Mommy, Satellites!  People should use satellites because that’s what you do at work.”  After a few quiet moments she said “Mommy, I’m really glad that you work for CNN.”  Um, wow, thanks.  I asked why and she said “It’s good that you work at CNN because they give the news and you help customers with satellites.  It’s a very important job.  I’m glad that it’s your job.”  I was a dumbfounded, but thanked her.  Then I asked if she ever wished that I didn’t have a job and she said “No…because then you wouldn’t work there and see your co-workers.” (It should be said that she answered me like I was a complete idiot for asking.)

So, there you have it.  My daughter doesn’t hate me for having a job.  She thinks I’m very important.  I’d venture to say that she finds me awesome. 

Incidentally, Working Mother magazine has a feature this month about working mothers and their adult children.  It turns out that these children are likely to grow up and be just fine.  Nice.