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Jan 20, 2009

Day Care

This morning, Colin and I got up early to get him ready for his first day at day care. I tried to get as much ready last night as I could, but I’m a pure-blood procrastinator, so there was still a lot to do this morning. I had a whole bag full of stuff: diapers, wipes, bottles, formula, changes of clothes, bibs, burp cloths, lists of phone numbers, a sketch of Colin’s current schedule, blankets, a shirt that I slept in last night to remind him of my smell, and so on. It was like moving out, except that we have so much stuff you couldn’t even tell anything was gone.

I had planned to get Colin to day care by 7:30, so when we got there at 8:35, I was a little frazzled. It had taken an entire extra hour to find clothes and throw a blanket on the baby, get him loaded into the car, and get a mile down the road. Why, you ask? No idea. But it did. Thankfully, I don't start work until tomorrow (I think), so I had a little wiggle room this morning. The babysitter and I had a little conference, reviewing Colin’s schedule and discussing what I would need add to his layette that I’d brought. I met the other kids, got Colin settled down for a nap, kissed him goodbye, and headed out.

I was free! Drunk with the endless possibilities of the day, my head swam with visions of my options. I could do anything. Anything! What to do first? I had so many plans for the day, from a trip to the dog park to making phone calls without a screaming baby on my hip to rearranging furniture. A bang trim, a trip to the bank, lunch. Ah, freedom!

I spent a good deal of the day watching inauguration coverage while I did some work at home on the computer. I reconfigured the breakfast room and got to the bank. Odds and ends, errands and a nap. Even a glass of wine with lunch. In short, it was productive, restful, and fabulous.
But while the day was luxuriously independent, I felt a constant ache, like the beginning of a toothache but deep in my chest. It wasn’t guilt that caused it, or even exactly that I missed Colin. It was more like a part of my heart had stayed with Colin to keep him company through the day. Its absence didn’t cause me pain, but instead reminded me that I wasn’t quite complete while Colin and I were apart.

Picking him up this afternoon offered me a little glimpse of what I hope will be the way things will be. I walked in to find Colin sitting in his carrier surrounded by the other four kids (all between 18 months and 3 years). They were making faces and tickling him and he was cracking up and talking to them. All five were having an absolute ball. I felt bad taking him… a little.

Tonight, I couldn’t get enough of him and he seemed to feel the same. I put him in his high chair while Patrick and I ate dinner, but he and I just looked at each other and goo-ed and giggled. Patrick tried to get a little face time, but I wasn’t really eager to give up any attention. Putting him to bed, we snuggled and read books and sang songs all with so much more tenderness than usual. I held him even after he fell asleep, rocking and singing to him, so grateful to be grateful again. Thank God for babysitters.

1 Readers rock!:

~Ashley said...

hey! this post is one of the BlogHer links! congrats :)