This I believe, when it comes to spending time with my son, there is no such thing as quality without quantity. There were days my son stayed at his preschool for eleven hours while I tried to catch up on school work or attended required staff meetings at the public school where I taught in Oregon. Tears would pour down my cheeks the evenings I picked him up at 6pm and he’d fall asleep in the back seat of the car, without dinner, without a bath, without a bed time story, only to wake up tomorrow to do it all again. My son was growing so big; he only had me and I was spread thin.
So we left the rat race. We moved to Israel where I took a job teaching second grade at a private international school. As part of my contract my son attends for free. I wave to him as his class walks out to the playground. He gives me a hug in the cafeteria where we eat lunch at the same time. We arrive and leave together everyday.
Our days have become longer since I have enough time to complete all my plans and preparations within my work day. We go home by 4:00 to make dinner together, play a game or two and read stories before bed. Things come out as we sit side by side.
“Mom there is a boy in my class that nobody wants to sit by at lunch,” he said a few days into the school year as he sat playing with his knights. He had blue marker stains on his pudgy hands and a few purple smears on his cheeks. He had that sweaty puppy little boy smell. “I have to sit by Patrick”, he added, “or he’ll be sad. But I guess we could all sit together.” And the sun came back into his eyes.
“Why does Right Said Fred think he’s too sexy? What is sexy?”
“Mommy, how do we know the Romans weren’t right about there being a whole bunch of gods? What if there really are and we are ignoring them? They get angry you know.”
“Mom, why do the kids in second grade invite me to their parties when I’m only in kindergarten? Is it because they like me or because I have a nice teacher for my mommy?”
“What are we to ants? Giants? Maybe there are giants that we don’t even see. Do ant kids have toys?”
As a single parent, I am the only one enjoying these conversations but at least I am. I’m trying to figure out how we can return to our friends and family in the US, and the public school system I believe it, but still have the time we need to be together. This I believe, when it comes to my son and our time, we need lots of it.
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