I’ve started a new tradition when I leave work after midnight on Sunday nights. I use my work badge to exit out of the employee garage. Then, I press that germ-infested button with my elbow or pinky finger to exit the second gate. Freedom. From the fluorescent lights. From the painful, beautiful, difficult, life-altering children’s hospital world. I roll my windows down. And turn the music up. Loud. Really loud. I don’t know how to control the bass on my husband’s car, but it’s probably up too high. My butt and ear drums both vibrate. I kind of like it. Oh, how I miss you, Coldplay.
My senses all fight for control. My left arm is hanging out of the window. It feels amazing, wind surfing. The air feels cool outside. It’s loud. Inside, I have the heat on. Guilty pleasure. In between watching the road and driving, my eyes look up and out to the beauty in the dark sky. The moon is gorgeous. It kindly guides me home. First, on the east side of my car, I can see it out of my window. I hold my hand up and it looks like I could grab it. Or touch it. I would love to double bounce myself up there and take a seat on this beautiful, still night. I would dangle my feet over the edge. Maybe have a beer or two to help settle myself down from a long shift. A long weekend. And just wait for the sun to come up. How amazing to see how tiny, yet how gigantic the world is when I’m sitting on top of the moon.
Then, I would gently fall back down tumbling happily from cloud to cloud before my boys wake up. I miss them. Their voices. Their questions. Their faces. It’s two really long days away. Have they grown up? I want to be there for them when they wake up and ask, “do you have to go to work today?” I will happily answer “Nope.” Then, I will tell them all about sitting on the moon. How I saw them sleeping. And how I watched the enormous sun rise. It will be hard for them to believe me. But also really hard for them not to believe the convincing enthusiasm in my voice. Then, they will be bummed that I didn’t take them up to the moon. With me. I just can’t wake them. I can look at them. And kiss them gently. And whisper “I love you.” But, it’s so hard to wake them up, even to come sit on the moon with me. They look so peaceful and beautiful and calm and perfect when they’re sleeping. Their enormous eyelashes, their breathing, their tangled up arms and legs. Just keep sleeping. I will be here when you wake.
I’m singing along the best I can to the airy Coldplay lyrics. I’m even trying to play one-handed steering wheel drums. I’m letting all of the work day craziness fly away. Into the downtown and I-35 breeze created by my car. And the other cars on the road this late at night. We have had the most amazing summer nights. Sometimes, the Bridge plays the most perfect songs, like the DJ knew I would be driving home from work, after midnight. Other times, I just slide the Coldplay CD in. And I love driving, listening, forgetting, remembering again, then feeling free. So free. These are the kind of nights that make me want to drive forever with my windows down and the music turned up. Forever, then I would need to exit or U-turn back to my house because I miss those boys so much. Those giggly, grouchy sometimes, fighting, then getting along, snuggling, deep question asking, happy, mama loving boys.
Two long twelve-hour shifts away help make me feel extremely grateful and happy to be back. Monday Mama time. It’s rough and exhausting but it’s filled with snuggles, catch-up talks and pure happy to be next to you time. There’s generally some melt-downs and Batman crying on the kitchen floor moments, but I still love it. Because I have missed it. The good, the bad, all of it. Work helps me recognize what an incredible gift I have. This overwhelming, undeserving gift of helping raise three boys. I can’t wait for the sun to rise. I have to bounce down from these puffy clouds and get home to my boys.