“Seriously Pam! Get out of here. You’re going to be late. We’ll be fine!”
“I know, it’s just, it’s my first day back and well, it’ll be hard to be there without you, again.”
Pam’s eyes turned down for a second as she put her keys in her purse. At the table Jim was holding Cece and feeding their four-month old daughter a bottle. His left leg was propped up on a chair in a walking cast.
“Hey,” he said gently. “This isn’t like last time. When you come home tonight, we’ll be here waiting for you.”
“I know,” Pam sighed. “I just wish we could get Cece into daycare sooner.”
“Yeah, me too,” Jim agreed. “Maternity leave in this country sucks.”
“You sure you can handle her by yourself for two weeks?” Pam still looked worried. “I mean what with the accident and your leg still healing and all.”
Jim shifted Cece in his arms to get a better angle for the bottle. “Pam, it was just a freak accident playing basketball. I mean yeah, I didn’t like breaking my leg, but we’re getting through it. And by taking FMLA for these two weeks I can stay home with Cece until we can get her into daycare and I can get back to work. Kind of a blessing in disguise really. Now seriously, you need to get going.”
Several hugs and kisses later, Pam was out the door and heading to work. Cece finished her bottle and Jim set a cloth over his shoulder to burp her. It didn’t take long for Cece to let out a small baby burp. Jim brought her back down to his front and cradled her.
“Nice one Kiddo,” he beamed.
Cece smiled up at her father before promptly spitting up in his arms covering her onesie and Jim’s arms.
Jim let out a sigh as he brought his leg down off the chair. “Nice aim,” he said ruefully.
He carefully carried Cece into the nursery. Jim smiled at the mural of animals Pam had painted on the walls as he set his daughter down on their changing table. In short order Cece was cleaned and had a fresh diaper.
“Well what do you want to do today?” Jim asked Cece as he made his was out of her room. For her part Cece babbled up at her father and waved her arms in his face. “Watch TV?” Jim said for her. “Great idea.”
Taking care to go easy on his injured leg, Jim and Cece made their way to the living room. Sitting down in his easy chair, Jim grabbed the remote and turned on the TV.
“Hey there Eeyore,” Jim said to the small grey rabbit hopping through the room. He smiled as he recalled when they’d brought the rabbit home. Pam’s insistence she really was a dog person and that we’ll just try out a rabbit for a week had really meant that, now they had a rabbit hopping around the house.
Scrolling through the channels Jim settled on a nature documentary. David Attenborough narrated the drama of a pride of lions living and hunting on the African savannah. Jim gently bounced Cece in his arms and let her suck on his finger. It didn’t take long for the combination of an English accent and gentle rocking to lull Cece to sleep for her first nap of the day. Again, taking care, Jim brought Cece to her crib to let her sleep. A warm smile bloomed across his face as he left the room.
Walking back down to his chair he pulled his laptop over to him and started scrolling through Facebook. It was filled with the usual kinds of status updates and pictures from friends and family. Jim chuckled to himself when he saw the running commentary Kelly kept up on her Wall.
Kelly Kapoor is so totally over this day already.
Kelly Kapoor is so happy that Ryan came back to the annex. He only got a Coke but I know he was looking at me.
Kelly Kapoor is wishing she didn’t have to deal with these stupid people on the phone.
Kelly Kapoor is bored.
Kelly Kapoor is thinking of switching her nails from pink to HOT pink.
Scrolling further down he saw Pam had updated her status as well.
Pam Halpert is missing her baby.
The simple words sent a pang through Jim’s heart. He knew how much she loved to be with their daughter. The fact that they still had two weeks before their daycare slot opened up and his injury had put a lot of stress on her to take care of them both. He glanced up from his computer screen. The documentary was still on the TV. Eeyore the rabbit had hopped into his cage and had been munching on some hay before he flopped onto his side to rest. An idea struck him and he scrolled over to open a new Note on his Wall. He grinned as he started to type.
Journals of a Stay-at-home-Dad. Day 1. The expedition has begun! Small Human has been fed and the toxic waste that built up during the night has been disposed of. No fires have popped up in the domicile, yet. Small Rabbit is laying comfortably on his side, so I shall presume there are no gas leaks seeping through the walls. Things are calm and quiet, should I be nervous? This will require further investigation whist hunting the elusive prey known as frozen waffles.
He published the note and sat back in his chair. In his mind’s eye he could hear the small giggle Pam would let out followed by the bemused look she’d send him. He could almost hear her calling him a dork as he got up to make his plate of waffles.
At her desk Pam had just finished updating her Facebook status. Most of her co-workers had stopped by to welcome her back to work in some way. Michael by asking if she needed any help with her breast pump since Jim wasn’t there. His comments had Kevin ask if it was true that her breasts were more sensitive than before Cece was born. Dual laser glares had sent both of them on their way. Angela peaked over their partition to comment that her return to work was at odds with her motherly duty of raising her daughter. Pam just turned away from the accountant. Phyllis and Oscar presented her with a bag full of yogurt drop packets for Cece. She assured them she was thankful, but that Cece wouldn’t be ready for solid foods for a while yet. Dwight set a small bottle on her desk that he told her was filled with otter milk. Not for Cece to drink, but to rub on her chest as cure-all for any form of cholic. Pam waited until Dwight was out of sight before tossing the bottle in her trashcan. Toby had simply smiled his sad smile at her before he walked as quickly as he could back to his desk to avoid Michael. When Kelly bounded in, dragging Ryan behind her, she started gushing over the maternity clothes Pam was still wearing. Pam’s insistence that the top was very comfortable fell on deaf ears as Kelly informed her that she’d take Pam out soon for some ‘hot Mom clothes.’ Finally, the parade of co-workers ended leaving Pam tired and already feeling run-down.
She took a deep breath and rubbed her temples to try and dispel the headache already starting to form. Standing up, she made her way to the kitchen. She took her teapot out of the cabinet. After washing it, she made herself a mug of tea and returned back to her desk. Her Facebook page was still up. Absentmindedly she clicked the refresh button.
“What’s this?” she said to herself when she saw Jim had published a new note.
A smile bloomed on her face. The warmth of her tea couldn’t match the glow now growing in her heart.