In six days I leave my daughter to begin student teaching. Student teaching is a full-time gig. I will go from being with Baby Love 24/7 to missing most of her days.
Before I had her I figured I’d be ready. Seven months? She’ll be fine, and I’ll be ready to pull my hair out!
But what I’ve found is I love being home with her. I love seeing her grow and change every day. I love watching each new discovery. I love being present for all the minutiae. It isn’t boring. It is wonderful. And I am so happy doing it that I feel guilty, figuring in my silly brain that if I’m this happy I must not be working hard enough.
By the time I realized I didn’t want to finish my program this semester, though, it was too late for me to back out. Arrangements have been made. So Monday it is.
I am scared of many things.
I don’t want to miss the moments of my daughter’s life. She is the most fun she has ever been, and I am leaving now. I see how much my husband sees of her, and he is a fantastic daddy and she adores him, but he doesn’t see all I do just because he’s not around as much. I don’t want to miss things, even silly little things, like I see him do sometimes just by circumstance. I am drinking up every day, living it fully, and I’m afraid if I stop being around her so much I’ll begin missing the past instead of enjoying the present. I don’t have any, “Aaaw, I miss that stage!” feelings like so many moms I know do, and I think it’s largely because I DON’T feel like I missed it! I experienced it, and it was wonderful, and now I’m experiencing the next wonderful stage. But if I’m gone full time will I still have the satisfaction of experiencing it? Will I have no regrets, feeling like nothing was missed?
We have a wonderful nanny coming to care for Baby Love, and I am so grateful to have found her, but here’s my deep, dark secret: I’m afraid she’ll be a better mommy to my girl than me. I love my Baby Love with every fiber of my being, and all the tangible ways of caring for her and providing for her and standing up for her needs I do well. But getting down on the floor and playing? Not my strong suit. I’ve been doing it more in the last week, and she loves it (and I’m having fun, too!), but it’s just not something I’m natural at and not something I do much. Plus right now my baby loves me above all others, and I think that’s largely because I’m her constant companion. What if spending more of her day with the nanny, who gets down on the floor and plays with her whole attention, she comes to like the nanny more than me? I know it sounds silly, but it scares me. I love my bond with my little girl. I don’t want to lose it.
I know she has to grow up and learn independence sometime. But it doesn’t seem necessary at seven months.
I know lots of moms go back to work and their relationship with their children is fine. But that doesn’t mean ours will be.
I’m scared. And not of student teaching. I’m going to rock the socks off that. But of leaving my baby for the majority of her waking hours for what will be the last third of her life, by the end. I’m sure she will be fine. I just hope I will be.