This morning, I finally got up the nerve to tell Noah's daycare teachers that next Wednesday will be his last day. It was fun. FUN. Tomorrow, I think I'll just have someone lob bricks directly at my chest instead.
They CRIED, people. IN FRONT OF ME. They handed me a camera so I could take their pictures with Noah. They asked if I would bring him back to visit. Then one of them had to leave the room. Then the other one told me how happy she was for me while her voice cracked and shook, and then she went off to sit in a rocking chair with Noah, holding him tightly to her chest while she tried to compose herself.
As I silently restocked Noah's cubby, I heard her whisper, "I love you, I love you."
And just like that very first dark day in December, I made it all the way back to my car before I started crying.
Baby Photos: They're like real-life emoticons for your blog.
I hated the rushing, the hassle, the colds, the room full of infants on amoxicillin and the endless forms for Pedialyte and diaper rash creams, but from the hours of 9:30 am and 6 pm, I knew Noah was safe. And happy. Every morning his face lit up at the sight of his teachers. Every morning he reached out his arms for hugs and kisses. Every morning he would smile and laugh as his teacher held his hand and blew me kisses goodbye on his behalf.
You know, I've gotten nothing but praise and support for my decision. So much praise, in fact, that I've read posts on other blogs about it because DAMN. Guess it's pretty obvious what choice is really seen as the right choice, the best choice, the universally loved and praised and petted choice.
While a lot of readers are genuinely happy for ME, because they know this is the right decision for ME, for RIGHT NOW, there were plenty of comments that bordered on (or flat-out trampled over) the idea that while some women can't stay home, if it is an option, it's the choice you MUST make. The choice you SHOULD make. The subtext is clear: if you can afford to stay home but choose to work anyway, you sir, are worse than Hitler. Which is why, back in January, the trolls chose to hurl that particular accusation at me. You can totally afford to stay home! You just don't want to!
Ooh, snap! Damn these uppity women with their "choices" and "options" and "personal fulfillment."
People -- coworkers, neighbors, family members -- who were totally, "Good for you!" when I went back to work are now sighing with visible relief because thank God I came to my senses and am getting that poor baby out of that awful, awful daycare.
Last week I told his teachers to start giving Noah an afternoon snack of Cheerios, and they clapped their hands in excitement. Cheerios? Noah eats Cheerios? Our big boy! Our big smart boy! When I picked him up that night I got a detailed and joyous description of just how well Noah can pick up a Cheerio and get it into his mouth. He takes such good naps! He's almost crawling! He offered a toy to a crying baby! He laughs when they sing! He gives the best kisses!
I asked these women to care for Noah. They did. I asked them to love him. They did. They really, really did.
And now I'm asking them to be okay with never seeing him again.
The Guilt, it gets you coming and going some days.