This morning I dropped Silas off for his last full day at Mother's Day Out before summer break. He trotted into his room confidently and all by himself, immediately started playing and chattering to his toddler buddies. He barely glanced up at me when I blew him a goodbye kiss. He was settled and happy in his own world, away from mama.
How far we've come from the first day I dropped off my 6 month old last August. How far we've come from the jagged transition into Nursery 2 earlier this year, from the tear-stained and screeching goodbyes.
When Silas first started at MDO in the fall, I needed those two days a week, twelve precious hours, more than I needed sleep, almost as badly as I needed air and water. I was a sleep-deprived, confused, self-doubting, angry mess. That time alone was a balm to my soul--it was a lifeline, the cord that kept me from falling into a dark and scary abyss. At that time I didn't even want to consider what would happen, what I would do when May came around, and that steady supply of time, space and sanity I could count on two days a week dried up. And here we are.
And, people? I am not even scared.
It's true that I will miss those two long days a week to myself. But I've lined up some help, the very cool teenage daughter of some dear family friends, who will come and look after Silas two days a week while I write. And we go to the gym, where I can have him in childcare for two hours a day. And there will be days at the river and the park with my mama friends and their kiddos, trips to get frozen yogurt, and afternoons at the Jumpy Place when we're feeling cabin fever, kept indoors by the blistering Texas heat. I can leave Silas with his very capable and supportive daddy, and escape to the coffee shop to write a few nights a week. And Silas is much more consistent with naps these days, so there's usually those two pockets of solace in each day. While I'm not exactly sure how it will all work out, whether I'm gonna be able to get to all the writing, reading, commenting and learning that I hope to do, I know this: it will be fine. I will be fine. We've got a good groove now, my son and I. I'm sleeping through the night most every night. And I've learned some extremely important things over the last 9 months: I am a good enough mama, I am not a terrible person for losing my s**t at times, and I can do this--and I can do a good job at it, too. I did not know these things before, and have learned them at great cost--but life is infinitely better now that I do.
I'm stepping into the summer feeling almost as confident and happy as Silas stepping into his classroom this morning.
While this is a very, very happy thing, it is also bittersweet, as there is more to miss from MDO than just time to myself. I will miss the ritual of drop-off: seeing our friends, saying hello, asking what they'll do that day. I will especially miss the ritual of picking Silas up: peeking in through the window before opening the door, catching a glimpse of Silas in his world, watching him play and talk and strut around, then seeing his face light up when I walk in, the joy of coming together again, hearing about his day, taking home the art--the art, people!--he's worked on. Gathering with my best mama friends and nursing our little ones in the church's foyer before heading on home, catching up, chatting about what each of our little ones is doing, saying, eating, how they're sleeping or not sleeping. I am so grateful for Silas to have this time away from me, too, to learn to make his way into the world, to play, to create relationships. I am grateful to all of his many caretakers, who know and love him, and who have helped to shape the awesome little person that he is.
It is no question that we have both benefited enormously from our time at MDO this year, that this time has allowed us both to grow tremendously. But I also think there will be great good things for us in the summer ahead, and that we'll return to Mother's Day Out again in late August having been greatly enriched by those three months together. I'm excited to see how it will all go!
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This is just write.