What on earth would cause a person to:
- Cry in the shower
- Behave like a schizophrenic lunatic whose world is ending
- Procrastinate everything possible
- Feel horribly depressed
- Make your husband drive you to and from work when you have two working cars
Answer: Going back to work after maternity leave.
I absolutely dreaded this day, although I knew it would come.
It's not that I dislike my job. In fact, I feel extremely grateful to be where I am. I love the school that I work for, I love the kids, and I adore my co-workers. But the idea of driving away and leaving my baby behind me was unbearable.
I did okay on Sunday before I had to go back to work. I simply didn't think about what had to happen the next day. Besides, I still had time.
I sobbed in the shower that night, after which I convinced Casey (because he is a saint) to drive me to work and pick me up so that I wouldn't have to do the thing I had been dreading, and actually drive off and leave her.
But I still had all night.
I was up much before the alarm went off at 5 a.m. I watched the minutes count down until the alarm went off and convinced myself not to lose it. Besides, I still had an hour and a half before I had to leave.
I nursed Leah at 6 before we had to get in the car and couldn't quite hold back my tears. But, at least I still had the car ride...
...which went much too fast. I still had 20 minutes...10 minutes...3 minutes...
I was saved from the awful moment in which I had to say goodbye by the appearance of a co-worker, who saw me getting out of the car and wanted to see the baby. Instead of feeling heartbroken in that moment - the one that had FINALLY come, even though I tried to fight it - I left feeling elated that I had gotten to show off my beautiful baby.
I was comforted by seeing the kids again, getting their hugs and hearing about how much they had missed me. It was fun to see the other teachers again and realize that, even though my world at home was perfect, there were things I missed about my job. I put together a quick slideshow of pictures to show the kids, so in some ways I didn't feel like I was all that far away.
And, the neat thing about my job is that I am too busy to fully appreciate how much I miss her.
Nonetheless, I will be very grateful on May 21st, when I get to go back to doing what my heart really yearns to be doing: being Leah's mommy.