Monday, May 27, 2013

Working (Mom) Moments: The Hallway

I can still picture the hallway, as nondescript as it was. Hannah's first daycare was family-based, in an apartment in a nice building a few blocks over from where we lived. The hallway was just beige walls, carpeted floor, lots of other apartments to pass along the way. When the daycare owners moved to another apartment about a year later, the hallway got even longer as we walked to our new destination.

I'd fretted over that first major decision we made in selecting daycare. I remember looking up different places online, desperately wishing I had more information, clinging to the hope that our instincts would be good enough. We ultimately visited three places. The first had one small room in her apartment where the kids would spend the majority of their time, and a long contract that requested more vacation time than Marc and I had. The third seemed okay, but that the kids might not be getting much attention there. But the second place was warm and loving - almost all of the apartment had been turned over to the business of childcare. The whole family was involved. Hannah thrived there, staying for the first two years of her life, making her first friends. It ended up being Max's first daycare too.

Though we have been very fortunate to have such great daycare experiences for our kids, no matter how great it was, I was still terrible at drop off. Most of the time, dropping off was Marc's job, but when it was mine, I was never happy about it. Neither kid has ever had an especially difficult time with saying goodbye - they've always acclimated quickly, sometimes heading off to play a little too eagerly, leaving me in the dust. I've never questioned that they would be well cared for during our time apart. And I knew what the experts said to do: keep it brief, a quick hug and an "I'll see you later, kiddo." So that's what I would do.

But that moment after I was out of their sight, the single second when I feel like I actively decide to go to work and leave them behind, well, it hits me smack in the heart. Even now, the kids are so big, and yet when I dropped them off on a recent weekday, I felt the old lump form in my throat. I'm not good at leaving them, but I know that leaving them, both their experiences at school and mine at work, is good for us.

Yet I can still remember the feeling of that hallway, the carpet underneath my knees, when I slid down the wall overcome with grief over leaving one year old Hannah all those years ago. A random day that I'd dropped her off - I can't remember the circumstances for why - and I rounded the corner out of her sight and cried.

1 comment:

  1. I know exactly how you feel! I have been fortunate to have had only a few truly terrible drop-offs but I still remember every single detail of every single one, including how I cried on my commute in to work.