I stood at the bus stop checking my phone approximately every 45 seconds to see if the bus was any closer to arriving. The sky was growing darker, and as the minutes passed, my 2-year-old’s bedtime ticked by — one minute, three minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes. I kicked myself for not just walking that half mile home, but with an uphill walk pushing a stroller weighed down with a heavy bag of produce (not to mention over 30 pounds of small child) and a shoe that was painfully rubbing against a blister on my foot, the bus had seemed liked a wiser choice at first.
At this point I had been standing there for so long it just seemed stupid to walk home.
Finally, I could see the lights of the bus a block away, and I breathed a sigh of relief. It had been a long day, and I was ready to get my daughter to bed and to finish some last-minute work.
A moment later, disappointment washed over me as I saw how packed the bus was. On top of that, it was an older bus with no easy way on if you have any type of wheels. A stranger kindly offered to help me with the stroller, but it just wasn’t going to happen.
I started to walk home, feeling frustrated about the non-stroller-friendly bus and annoyed at myself for not just walking home in the first place.
I was exhausted from being woken up early that morning by my daughter’s calls. Due to an error on my part, I had a work deadline to meet. And all I wanted to do was get my daughter to sleep and curl up in my own bed with a good book. Waiting for a bus I couldn’t take was not in the plans for that night.
I could feel the tears start to build up in me, the self-pity growing.
In general, I don’t do well with last-minute changes. I’m a planner. I like to know what’s coming next, to be on time, and to give myself ample room to get things done.
And yet, when you have a young child, things very rarely work out so easily. Kids throw tantrums or have a massive blowout just as you’re about to step out the door. They get sick or don’t nap when you’re planning on working. They want to sing and be read to when all you want to do is pass out in your bed.
But that’s also the beauty of being a parent.
Young children don’t care about any of these things — about deadlines or projects or being anywhere or when things don’t go as planned. They care about what is in front of them at that moment, about being with us and enjoying what’s going on right now.
My daughter could not have cared less that it was past her bedtime or that we were unexpectedly walking home. From her perspective, she was spending time outside on a beautiful evening, looking at the blue and pink sky and making up stories and being with her mama.
So I took a deep breath, talked myself out of my pity party, and focused on what was right in front of me. A chance to walk outside in the evening in short sleeves for what would probably be one of the last times of the year. An opportunity to get one last bit of exercise in for the day. And a few more minutes to talk to my daughter.