I go in for the goodbye kiss; she looks away into the distance at someone who will spend all day doting on her, watching her every move.
I nuzzle her cheek to mine; she nuzzles her cheek to the neck of someone else.
I spin, tears about to prick my eyes, dejected and rejected. I try to convince myself it’s not me; it’s her.
But as I drive away, pain sears through my chest anyway.
Hours later, I bound through the door — easily the best part of my day (next to waking her up). I lift her up out for a squeeze … and her eyes pan the room for the other woman.
No, I’m not talking about a torrid love affair; I’m giving a (slightly) melodramatic take on my daycare drop-off and pick up experiences to date.
Sometimes I think Maya knows her name — or maybe just is understanding our intonation of her name? — and she will look up upon hearing my voice when I enter the room.
And sometimes when I pick her up, I get what I think is a a glimmer of recognition, usually in the form of a gummy grin, a coo, or maybe even a squawk or raspberries. Those days I feel good about going back to work and leaving her in the care of someone else. Those days I don’t feel like I’m making a mistake.
But more often than not, I get a blank stare, wandering eyes. And it hurts. It brings me back to the days of crushing on boys who only liked me as a really great friend …
Rationally, I know she’s only four months old and she doesn’t resent me (yet!) — and I also know she absolutely isn’t trying to hurt me. But it does.
Everyone says it gets easier–and some days I feel better than others … but just knowing it’s not me with Maya 24/7 hurts like hell. I’m sure there will come a time when this doesn’t weigh on me as much as it does now, but it’s really, really hard.
And since she was in bed by 7:30 tonight … tonight was one of those hard nights, and with my husband in Canada for the week for work, it just hit pretty hard.
How about you? Did it get easier? Is anyone ever truly OK with their decision to return/not to return to work?