"Daaaady," came the yell that in the second that it screams out of her mouth can denote fear that something terrible just happened, but in this case didn't. "I just made a 'W.'"
Emma was at a table in the living room, trying to write her friend's name on a piece of paper, while I was in the kitchen making dinner tonight. In the hundredth of a second when I heard her yell my name, my mind raced that something had gone wrong. It was nothing. She had written a letter of the alphabet and was thrilled to share the news. So was I. I went over and congratulated her, kissed her on the head and went back to cooking.
It's moments like those, taking only a few seconds, that make me glad I'm home with my daughter, even if I don't have a job. Granted, the same thing would have likely happened if I returned home from a full-time job, but who knows? But while making dinner for the two of us, because the sole bread-winner is away at work for the night, I was thinking how difficult it is to find a job while taking care of a 4-year-old. Finding a job is supposed to be a 40-hour-a-week job, and lately I haven't been close to that many hours. Everyone has commitments that take away from the job search, but for me, giving my daughter my full attention limits the job hunt. For example, we went to the park, went to the store, then home to wash the car and play some more before making dinner, then her bath, Sesame Street, more playing and story reading before off to bed. My mornings are somewhat free, but I'm using much of that time networking, volunteering or working at my part-time job. Where is the time?
I could prop Emma in front of the TV for a few hours and then go online and work on my resume, apply for jobs, make calls, etc., but I'd feel bad about that. So I'm doing what I can to remind myself to enjoy this time with her and make the best of the time we have together. She's only 4 once, and unemployment won't last into her teens.