I’ll be back … in about six weeks

After months of anxiously counting down the days, checking them off one at a time on my calendar with big red X’s, it’s finally here — my last day of work.

I begin my long awaited maternity leave and for the next six weeks I will be able to turn off my police scanner, silence my cell phone and just watch the news on TV like everyone else. Emails will go un-returned, phone calls ignored, and when I’m driving down the street and happen to hear a siren, I can repress the urge to chase it down.

Instead of farmer’s markets and check presentations, my camera will dedicated to simply photographing my kids (and probably my dog). Instead of hanging outside of political rallies and waiting on motorcades, I can content myself with preparing family meals, reading stories to my 3-year-old and long restful nights of sleep without the need to set an alarm for the morning.

At least that’s the plan. In reality, I’ll probably go crazy after two weeks.

I’ve never really been a “homebody” kind of person. I like to be out doing things, which is probably part of the reason I became a reporter to begin with. As far as employment goes, the idea of sitting behind a desk Monday through Friday, nine to five, is my idea of torture and while being a full-time stay-at-home parent is an undoubtedly a noble calling, I have discovered that it’s not for me.

But adjusting to having a new little one in the house is going to take some time. Schedules will have to be arranged, patterns established. Suddenly having two little boys in the house is going to be a big change for the Strickland family and taking time off of work to try and smooth the transition seems like a wise decision.

As far as having a newborn in the house again, I’m not concerned. My mother has repeatedly warned me that every baby is different, but all I have to go on is my experience with our first son Ben, who was an exceptionally easy baby. He slept through the night almost right from the start and was never fussy when it came time for feeding or changing. He was a happy little boy, rarely cried and for the most part was just content to be rocked in my arms.

When I sang to him, it was either the Star Wars theme or Elton John songs because I didn’t know any lullabies. Really, if anything, I’m more prepared this time around because, unlike last time, I can recite all the words to “The wheels on the bus” and now know that there is in fact no verse that involves Keanu Reeves “saving the bus.” Although there should be …

I’ve heard horror stories from other moms who have had babies that cried all the time, wouldn’t sleep and generally wore their parents ragged until they reached a year or so old. I am praying this is not what awaits us with baby boy number two, who we have decided to name Samuel. But in truth, I really don’t think that will be the case.

In the meantime, at least in the last few days here before baby Sam makes his appearance, I am going to try to use the time off work to spend some much needed one-on-one time with my Ben. I plan on doing things like baking cookies and licking the batter from the wooden spoons and staying up late reading stories and watching movies. We’re going to build the coolest fort ever in the living room out of couch cushions and bed sheets and then tear it all down, Godzilla style.

It’ll be weird not writing for a while, but it’s only six weeks, best summed up by a Schwarzenegger quote: “I’ll be back.”

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