Okay. Four. Maaaybe five.
I couldn’t help it, y’all. I was all sorts of nervous when I got up this morning. Joshua was crying and I must’ve sat in the nursery holding him and smelling him for half an hour until I put him back in the crib because he’d fallen asleep on my shoulder. But he started crying again so we just got him up and let him monster around while we got dressed and ready to go.
So the whole time I’m loading his diaper bag and my bags and making my coffee, I just have this pit of dread in my stomach. I can feel it. The tears are there. They are, like, knocking on my throat.
And then we got in the car and off we went. And my mom called me and she talked to me on the drive. It was a nice distraction. Otherwise, I would’ve spent the entire drive fighting to swallow past the tears in my throat.
(Isn’t that weird, how tears can get in your throat? I don’t mean tears are LITERALLY in your throat, of course, but isn’t it weird how, before you cry, you feel your throat constrict and you temporarily lose the ability to swallow and breathe??)
We went into the daycare and Ms. E saw Joshua and came out of the infant room to squeeze on him. He went to her and then wanted to come right back to me.
SCORE ONE FOR THE MAMA!
And then we got into his room and he went to Ms. C and came right back to me.
SCORE TWO FOR THE MAMA!
Then he wanted down. And I was sad. And I felt the tears in my throat fighting their way up to my eyeballs.
And then he wanted me to pick him up again.
SCORE THREE FOR THE MAMA!
And then I started crying. I lost it. The tears just started rolling down my cheeks and I tilted my head back to try and make them go back in. They didn’t.
Joshua hopped down and started playing with a ball and didn’t even seem bothered by the fact that I was leaving.
NEGATIVE FOURTEEN POINTS FOR THE MAMA. 🙁
Ms. C hugged me and said I could call her and made sure I had her number before I left. And then I saw Ms. E in the hallway and I started crying AGAIN. And she said to call her any time I wanted to check on him. And then I got in my car and I cried. Again. And I sat there until I thought I could get myself together enough to drive to work.
The whole drive to work I was just swallowing really hard and trying to forget that he didn’t seem to be upset by my leaving. I mean, that’s good. I know it is. I know that it’s good that he’s independent. I was independent. But it breaks my heart to think that he doesn’t need me or want me around.
So then I get to work and I’m all “I miss my kid” to anyone who asks me how I’m doing. Like that makes it easier. One co-worker asked me how I was doing and I said I was sad and she said “Like, SAD sad” and made a hand gesture like scooping down. Afraid to say “postpartum depression.” But, I was happy to say “No, just regular sad because I miss my son. We had a really great summer.”
And we did. We had an amazing summer of sleeping in and hugs and cuddles and naps and kisses and sign language and books and playing and it was wonderful. I miss it already.
I went through my day, attended my meetings, did a little shuffling of some piles, and went to get Joshua. I was so excited to get him. I just kind of smiled in my heart the whole way there.
And when I walked into his room, he didn’t seem all that excited to see me. He didn’t run up to me right away and throw his arms around my legs and reach up for me. He kept wandering around with his sippy and putting it down to pick up the sippy that had been discarded by one of his classmates. He did eventually come to me and ask me to pick him up, but he didn’t seem really interested in me. He asked to get back down.
And I felt the tears lurch into my throat again. I needed him to need me. I needed to see his face light up with excitement instead of a little bit of confusion. I needed to pick him up and breathe in the smell of dirt and sunscreen.
I love this little person so much. SO MUCH, y’all.
Tonight, instead of Dan doing the bedtime stuff with Joshua, I did it. I needed it. And while I was holding him in the dark of his nursery, I held my hand over his little butterfly heart and I recited part of this poem to him:
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
— e e cummings
Isn’t that beautiful?
I carry your heart in my heart. And you carry my heart in yours. You are the only person who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside. When you were tiny, you used to rest your head over my heart and I used to think that the sound of its beating lulled you to sleep. Even now that you are too big to fit like you used to, you sometimes try to snuggle up and it seems like you are listening for my heartbeat. My heart beats for you. Always for you.