This week has just been the worst. One day (if you decide to have children), you will drop your kid off at daycare or school for the first time and you will discover what real solid pain feels like.
Today was your fourth day. The first two days I let you go just for a few hours to get used to it. Yesterday, I left you for ten hours. TEN. For ten hours I left you with total strangers. A little boy pushed you down and scratched your beautiful face and stole your toy. Your teacher handed me a piece of paper explaining your injuries. She said you did nothing. You just cried. I purposely did not ask which little tot caused harm to my perfect child because I knew that you might one day become friends with him, and that one day you might want him to come over and play, and you might even grow up to be best friends-and I would hate his little toddler guts for the rest of my life.
Today, I left you for nine hours. I asked if you wanted to go to school as you ate a granola bar on the couch. This might seem stupid, but I didn’t want you to get your hopes up when we left the house that you might be going somewhere fun with me. “No shoool.” you said shaking your head like you could influence the outcome. “What about your friends? Don’t you want to play with your friends?” I asked encouragingly. “No fends.” you shook your head again to reiterate. “NO FENDS.” Before we left, I showed you what to do if a child tried to hurt you again. You stuck your hand out mimicking your mommy. “No! No! Bad!” you repeated. I even told you to growl-and you did. “Jack”, I said sweetly, “You are the biggest kid in your class. No one can mess with you if you don’t want them to. It’s not nice to hit, but if they hit you-BAM!” (I moved my fist through the air) “WHACK ‘EM IN THE FACE!” You giggled. You growled. You moved your fist through the air and giggled again. Toddlers are animals.
This morning, the teacher literally had to help me pry you off my body. You were wrapped around me like an contracted orangutan. You cried, “No! Mama! Maaaaammmmaaaaaaa!” and I cried just as hard. Our faces were both red streaming with tears. The teacher held you and patted my back. “He’ll be okay. Just give him some time.” she said sweetly. I told you I would be back, but it didn’t matter. I was leaving you with strangers. The strangers were nice, but they were still strangers. Your mommy left you today and you couldn’t possibly comprehend why.
Your daddy called me as I got into the car. “How’s it goin’ babe?” a smile in his voice. “I just dropped Jack off.” I squeaked. He could hear the tickle in my throat. “Was it bad?” he asked. “YES!” I peeped as I burst into tears once again.
Like yesterday, I called only twenty minutes after I left you. They said you were already playing. I felt better. I’ve started a new job. My dream job just fell into my lap. It’s only part time so I will still get to spend lots of time with you. I didn’t think it’d be this big of a deal since it wasn’t a full time job, but it is. We’ve been together practically every day for over two years. If you count my pregnancy (and I do), we’ve been together for three years, you and I. I take you everywhere. To the store, to the bank, to the bathroom, to lunch, to the shower. You are quite literally attached to me most of the time.
To suddenly leave you with strangers feels so wrong to both of us. “Alright, baby. We’ve had a nice run the past few years, but I’ve decided to leave you here for ten hours a day about twice a week, okay? Bye!” At least if you were in kindergarten, we could have prepared more for this moment, but right now, you just don’t get it. I can’t even put it in words you would understand like, “If you want that new video game for absolutely no reason then mommy has to go make some spending money.” I know it will get better. We aren’t the only mother and child who have gone through this exact situation. For now, though, it sucks. I guess I just want you to know that if your mommy leaving you is one of the first memories your brain decides to hold on to that I cried for you even after you stopped. I thought of you even as you began to make new friends. When you really adjust to this situation, and you don’t even want me to come back anytime soon because you’re having so much fun with your new friends….even then….I still missed you.
I love you,
Thirty Year Old Mama