Friday, June 6, 2014

End of an era.

For the past two years I've spent nearly every Wednesday morning just being a mom. Because I work for a company in Seattle, I work on Pacific Time every Wednesday and don't report for duty until 11:30 local time. Three hours may not seem like a lot, but in the chaos of a week overflowing with professional and personal commitments, having three full uninterrupted hours to dedicate JUST to parenting is something I do not take for granted.

When Josephine was in her earliest years, I worked as a 20-25 hr/wk researcher/writer and an adjunct faculty member. Because almost all of the adjunct work took place in the evenings, that left me with a couple days a week to just hang out with Josie, other moms, etc.  For a whole lot of reasons, I went back to work full time when Bea was a baby. That decision, which in many ways wasn't actually a choice but a necessity, has always been an emotional one. And, try as hard as I might to justify the benefits of being a full-time working mom, Mama Guilt is well-documented beast that doesn't always respond to logic and reason. This is all the long way of saying, of course I wish I had more than 3 hours a week to just be with my sweet Beatrice. But because I do just have those 3 hours of just the 2 of us, those 3 hours are something we've both held sacred the last two years. And as it turns out, 3 hours of being totally present has been an enormous gift to both of us.

So, this week "West Coast Wednesdays" came to an end for the Beatrice and me. While we are both super duper excited that Josie will be a part of our WCWs for the summer, the end of WCWs with Beatrice is pretty significant...because there isn't another round of WCWs awaiting us in the fall. After a summer of WCWs through August, I'll send both girls off to school and well, then a new era will begin. I'll save the pondering around that for another day.

In the meantime, this is how Beatrice and I spent our last WCW which, just like all the others began with a "Is today Mama Morning" somewhere around 7am. "Yep! It's West Coast Wednesday! What shall we do today?"

Because it was raining big giant buckets from angry skies, our options were limited. Some of our favorite destinations were instantly struck. It wasn't long before we came up with a pretty good plan B - BonBonerie and Butterflies!!!

Is she not just the sweetest little thing in the world (right down to her scraped up little forehead from an unfortunate asphalt-related incident)?

The rainy morning meant hot chocolate in June felt totally feasible. We pretty much had BonBonerie to ourselves, so they went all out in terms of making Bea feel special. She got her own cup of whipped cream to swirl into her special cup at her leisure and then Miss Beatrice took the work of preparing the perfect cup of cocoa very seriously.

...Then eventually went for efficiency.

After our tummies were full, we headed to Krohn Conservatory for the annual butterfly show. We got there before the crowds and had a little time to run around before it got busy. Little eager beaver Bea had some trouble moving slowly enough for the butterflies to come close, but they finally obliged. Then she made a butterfly bestie that kept coming back to her time and time again. The photos tell the story of her struggle and eventual success! ;)

After the great "Butterfly Bow" win, we decided to go run around the rest of the Conservatory. I didn't take too many pics of that because I was too busy playing along with Bea's "close your eyes, I have a open them...LOOK! Birds!...A Pond!.....A Waterfall!....A Cave!" She insisted on this picture of us in front of the waterfall.

And then, thank goodness, reminded me how young she still is when she wouldn't go through the cave alone without holding my hand.

Little Beba in the big, big world with so many big adventures ahead of her. It may be the end of an era, but if there's one thing I've learned it's that the end of one era just means the beginning of a new one and there's nothing more wonderful than that.

I'll miss our mornings together. A lot. But plans are already in the works for how I will spend WCWs come fall and that's going to be pretty awesome, too. You'll see.