Four years ago I stood in front of the door to the daycare we had carefully selected, infant in arms, unable to go in. It killed me to go in and drop off my baby. Not that I really had the choice then. I had to work. I had to send her. But I hated having to let her go.
I had absolute faith in the people I was leaving her with. I knew in my gut they were good people, the right people. What I didn’t trust was that she would still know I was her mom.
If she spent over eight hours a day with other people who loved her and kissed her and fed her and changed her, how would she know I was her mommy? And if I didn’t care for her all day, all the time, how would I be a mommy?
That thought tortured me.
Here was this tiny baby I hadn’t been able to breastfeed and here I was handing her off to someone else to care for her all day long. I wept at the thought that I’d miss all her major milestones.
I was right. The first week she was at daycare she rolled over for the first time.
I was wrong about the rest. She never once stopped thinking I was her mommy. Her face never stopped lighting up when she saw me. And she never stopped reaching for me when she was sick, tired, sad, or even just looking for a hug. As for me, clearly I was no less her mommy because I wasn’t with her all day.
When Little L was born it never crossed my mind that she wouldn’t go to daycare. Even when I decided to work for myself we never considered pulling her out. Daycare was their second home. It was where their friends gathered every day for eight hours of fun and games. Both of my daughters have thrived in this other home. They’ve learned things I could never teach them. They’ve become resilient, caring, funny little people thanks to the care and love they have received there.
In the fall C will go to Kindergarten. She won’t be going to daycare any more. I won’t be taking her to this warm cozy other home every day. And I’m sad about that. Sad that this part of her life is over. I’m hopeful that the school we have so carefully selected for her will serve as yet another home, but it will be different and once again it’s killing me.