Monday John Patrick started daycare. It was one of the hardest days of my life. I started crying Sunday night when I was packing his “daycare” bag and basically didn’t stop until Monday when I picked him up. I tried to take my mind off of it by getting my hair done and shopping for new work clothes, but all day I had this horrible lump in my throat. I kept thinking about when he was born and how the first 6 weeks I basically couldn’t put him down at all. And I kept thinking about how much I complained about that. Why did I complain about that? And I also thought about how fast my maternity leave went by and that he and I will never have that time together again. Those 3 1/2 months are gone forever. Obviously, this thought process made me more than a little depressed.
I called the daycare after he had been there a couple of hours and asked how he was doing. (Yes, I’m one of those mothers.) But actually, he was doing really well. In fact, John Patrick had no trouble with daycare at all – only I did. He had no trouble adjusting to his teachers or making new friends. He had no trouble adjusting to songs and toys and bright colors and a new and exciting place. In fact, he loved it.
I realize now that this is only hard for me. He’s ready for this. It’s a good experience for him. His teachers are wonderful. They are so loving with him and patient with me. When I picked him up, his teacher was rocking him and singing a lullaby (in Spanish – brownie points). Today when I picked him up from his second day, I ran into another mother. She told me how she started her daughter at 3 months as well (she’s now 7 months) and that it was so hard for her. But like John Patrick, her daughter had no problem with the transition and loves her “school”. She kept telling me, “just get through the first couple of days and you’ll start to feel a lot better”.
And honestly, I’m already starting to feel better. Don’t get me wrong – I think about him all the time and I miss him constantly. But I feel at peace with where he is and that it is a safe and nurturing place. He’s making friends and learning how to accept care from people other than Mom. It’s even made him more inclined to let Daddy hold him longer before crying for me.
My husband laughs at me because I say “he’s growing up so quickly”. (He finds this funny because John Patrick can barely hold his head up.) But it’s true. He’s showing me that he’s ready to start developing as an individual and having experiences apart from “Mommy”. And as hard as that is for me, it’s a great thing for him. This may sound completely crazy but I’m so proud of him.
Or maybe he’s just so little he has no idea what is going on. I choose to believe the former.
So it’s been another momentous couple of days in our home. And we’ve survived and learned lots of lessons along the way. Maybe some day I’ll be able to teach John Patrick a few lessons. But for right now, he’s the master and I’m the student.
May the force be with us.