Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

Tomorrow is little G's first day of daycare. He's 11 weeks old now. He smiles when someone smiles at him. He holds his head high to see the world and when he's in the bath he tries to roll to his side. He grabs fistsful of my hair and gurgles with pleasure in the first two swallows of every meal and more or less sleeps through the night. He's not a newborn anymore.

So he starts daycare tomorrow and I return to work on Wednesday. I'm a little nervous about Wednesday - not the return to work, but the morning deadline of getting us all out of the house, unpacking three children at school, and still arriving to my desk by 9am each day. But that's Wednesday, and I'm getting ahead of myself. Tomorrow is G's first day of daycare, and I'm nothing but excited about it.

I am excited to offer him into the arms of the same women who cared for his sisters as infants, who have loved him since the day I announced he was growing inside of me, who have been asking me for weeks when he'll be joining them. I am excited to offer him into our daycare family, and in so many ways it is truly our family, the extended mass of older siblings and cousins he'll attach to the moment he's enrolled; the dozens of parents who have marveled at his toes and at his smile and who praise my children like their own, or correct their behavior like their own; his sisters' closest friends who already call G their baby, too. I never knew that by enrolling my first and then subsequent children in a daycare program that I'd also be sealing myself to some of the most important friendships I've ever known. I didn't know that other women can truly love my children as I love them myself. It's just a daycare center, four classrooms and a hallway, but it's a home for us. I'm so excited to bring G into our second home, and make it his, too.

It's such a loving space and I want him to have that for himself; I've been itching for him to have what his sisters have. And of course, when I do return to work on Wednesday I will once again treasure that their daycare is in my work building; the four of us will be under one roof all day long, my babies just an elevator and a hallway away. I truly think I have the best of both worlds for us, and bringing G to daycare and returning to work in many ways doesn't feel like I'm leaving my baby, but that I'm reuniting my family.

So I packed his bag: diapers and wipes and burp cloths and extra clothes and labeled pacifiers and tushie cream and the same little yellow blanket with the orange and white stars that first E and then L used in their first years of daycare. Tomorrow he has a big adventure and a lot of love waiting to take him in.

But I admit, when he was fussy in his afternoon nap today, I could have just shushed him back to sleep. Instead, I picked him up and held him close and fell asleep with him, just the two of us, folded around each other in the nest of the big arm chair. Because tomorrow he'll be napping in a room I can draw in my mind, with the familiar lullabies I've heard them play for four years, in the dark illuminated only by the light from the kitchenette and the closet. It's a warm, cozy nest, too, but it's not my arms. So on the last day that selfishly, I call him still mine and not also theirs, I held him and held him.

Because tomorrow, I'll kiss him on the top of his head. There will be a lightness in my heart but probably also tears in my eyes. I'll kiss him on the top of his head, and walk away. Pin It


Ninotchka said...

Good luck! It's a bittersweet milestone for sure.

SmartBear said...

Oh! This is so HARD! I am so glad you have a place you like so much! Hope it goes smoothly!

Allison said...

I look back through old pictures and think "oh, this is from when she was still just my baby," pictures from before I went back to work...I think you've captured the way a lot of moms feel here! Hope Gabe had a great first day, and hope you do too on Wednesday.

Laura said...

I understand this and feel pretty much the same way. Daycare has been one of my biggest fears and best gifts. Enjoy work. I hope all goes well.