I almost didn’t take Skylar to daycare this morning. That’s how much I was dreading it. But I forced myself to go through our morning routine with a smile on my face: snuggled together in the rocker; took her on a walk to Starbucks (she gets SO cranky if she doesn’t have her skinny latte); debated whether Sartre’s early work was indeed an extended meditation on the contingency of our existence; played in the Jumperoo; then gathered Skye’s stuff and drove to daycare.
I could feel the tears welling up on the drive there, but I didn’t want Miss Skye to sense my sadness — nor did I want to show up at the center looking like Amy Winehouse after an all-night bender — so I did everything… anything… I could to distract myself from our imminent separation. We passed a donut shop; I mentally started listing ALL of the donuts I could possibly think of. Jelly, glazed, cinnamon, chocolate-filled — YES! That is how I spent our precious pre-daycare moments together. Reviewing my mental catalogue of small, ring-shaped friedcakes. The Mind of a Mother Gone Mad.
At least I staved off the waterworks.
The drop-off was rather anticlimactic. Skye was so fascinated with her new baby friends and the surrounding activity, that she barely noticed me kiss her good-bye. “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!” her wide eyes seemed to say. And, just like that, I was alone. On my own for, really, the first time in almost six months.
Heaven help me. It felt GOOD.
I love the feeling of sitting at my computer, my beautiful, beautiful computer, and working without that uptight feeling of being on borrowed time. Of being able to just catch my breath. I was so giddy, so enamored with my new freedom, that I barely knew what to tackle first. Okay, I didn’t know what to tackle first. There are endless projects on my to-do list, projects that have been sitting on the sidelines since Miss Skye entered our lives. Overwhelmed, I just stared, bug-eyed, at that damn list for hours and fought a craving for a jelly donut.
Despite my dazed state, the four hours flew by somehow. When the time came to pick up Miss Skye, my heart was pounding so hard that I thought it was going to pop out of my chest and tell me to simmer down. I couldn’t get to the daycare fast enough. I was that excited. Practically skipping — Yes! Like Dorothy of Freakin’ Oz! — I threw open the door to the building… and heard a baby SOBBING.
I knew. As all parents know. That sobbing belonged to my baby.
There was Skye in Teacher Nicole’s arms, her little body wracked with sobs. Sobs that I’d never heard before. The kind of sobs that literally took her breath away.
“She wouldn’t eat,” Teacher Nicole lamented as Skye, her eyes red, flung herself into my arms.
“Skylar? My Skylar with the chunky, dimpled thighs? But… she’s ALWAYS hungry!”
“The first day is hard. I’m sure it will get better,” Teacher Nicole assured me.
I’m sure, too. After all, the other babies in there look as happy as little clams. But… oh, those sobs! Like a dagger in my heart.
It didn’t take Skye long to calm down. She did, however, have quite a few choice words for me on the way home. I’m not sure what she was babbling back there, but I’m pretty sure it had nothing to do with Sartre’s early work.
So the dread returns. One step forward, two sob-filled steps back. We’ll see how tomorrow goes. One thing is for certain: There WILL be jelly donuts on the menu. Yes, yes, there will. (Stress has the opposite effect on my appetite.)