Today K is at daycare while I spend my last day of maternity leave being available and getting things done that are more challenging with an 11 week old hanging around.
I was hoping that yesterday (our last day off together) would be beautiful and relaxing. It started out that way as we went on a walk with my mother around a nearby lake. But before I knew it, my car was making funny noises. Then it sounded like the muffler was going to fall off. It was an easy fix (that took a chunk of time) and we were off to the store to buy enough bottles for daycare. At the store, I managed to bang my head – HARD – into the roof of the car. We had lunch and came home and within a few hours I was feeling really sick. So I ended up doing what I could to keep K calm and entertained until C came home and then spent the rest of the night feeling pretty bad. C and I ended up staying up until the early morning, preparing for today, relaxing, and talking, so that didn’t help.
This morning, K woke up around 5 and then again around 7:30. I nursed her (and didn’t want to let her go), cuddled her (and didn’t want to let her go), and finally put her smiling self into the carseat. We took two cars, since C had to go to work today, and we were off.
At daycare, which is in the home of our friend’s mother and a place we have spent significant time in the past, our friend’s three year old daughter was SUPER excited to see us. She screamed our names and shared that she knew that K was coming to daycare today. I was super nervous and emotional and allowed C to do much of the talking while I nursed the baby one last time before handing her off. (Did I mention I seriously considered driving past daycare and into the sunset? And that I considered running out of the house with my baby?) Our niece made it easier – I tried to stay extra calm not only for the baby but also for her (and laughed when she thought she was going to come with us!). When it was time to leave, we said goodbye and I walked as quickly as I could out of that house and to my car, where I started bawling. C was there, suggested that we maybe get away from the house and continue the conversation, and mentioned she had a present for me.
So we drove a couple blocks away and she got into my car, bringing with her a beautiful charm bracelet. It was a wonderful surprise, full of symbolism and meaning, and I felt again so lucky and grateful to have her in my life. She also gave me money from her father, who had given it to her so that I might get my nails done today before returning to work. I am hoping to do that this afternoon.
It feels like 11 weeks has passed and it doesn’t, all at the same time. I was surprised this morning how normal it felt to get out of bed with an alarm, encourage the dog to go outside, and get myself ready for the day. Obviously, today is a little different than any other day I will be having in the near future (it will be rare that I have a day off that doesn’t involve C or K), but we still went through the routine. Regardless, it is hard for me to transition from such a special time to such a normal time. My life is dramatically different in so many important ways and yet I will be fully reentering a world where things have likely been fairly status quo for the majority of people around me. A piece of my heart will be miles away, smiling, interacting, and learning about the world, and I will be busy at work, fortunately at a job I care about, but still work nonetheless.
Overall, it is okay being at home, mostly because I have so much to do and it is a good break to get it done (I’ve already been grocery shopping, doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, and cooking dinner for tonight, not to mention pumping). I do think I will be able to manage it tomorrow if I can stay busy and focused. But if anyone asks me about my baby – which most people are bound to do – I think I might fall apart.
It feels like the end of vacation and the end of such a singularly focused time. K has taught me so much about being in the moment and loving the moment you are in and I hope I can take that with me into the next several weeks and beyond.