daycare eve {a letter to Quincy.}

* written after church on Sunday, March 15, 2015, as sweet Q-Bug slept nearby.

dear sweet Quincy-Bug,

tomorrow is a big day for you, for it is tomorrow that you will enter, for the first time as a child under their care, the daycare in which you will spend your hours while Mama is at work. this date has been marked on the calendar for quite some time, since your untimely arrival 3.5 weeks early, and as each day passed, your Mama grew more and more anxious about this date.

Quincy-16-Weeks

you see, sweet Bug, your Mama has never before sent such a youngster to daycare; when your big brother made his first debut at our {beloved, we’re-so-blessed-to-have-this-place} daycare, he was fourteen months old. of course, i had nerves and worries about that day, too, but those seem so silly in comparison to sending you, our little four-month-old, to even as wonderful of a place as our daycare is.

you’ve grown so much since that first day that my eyes met yours, but you’re still so little.

but, in an effort to help me through this transition {which promises to be awash in Mama-guilt, an emotion that i know so well, one that, i’m certain, is unending, even when our children leave our safe haven to embark on lives whose movements and milestones we no longer direct or chronicle in intimate detail}, i’ve compiled a list of reminders for myself – and for working mamas everywhere – who are struggling with the realization that their children’s days will pass without as many Mama-snuggles as we’d like:

* by sending our children out to have their own adventures, apart from us, more of the world will get to know and love all of our children, including my sweet Q. this is such a blessing, for {i’m convinced} that it’s in the eyes and the coos and the snuggles of babies that magic happens, that God’s love becomes tangible, that faith in humanity abounds.

* the work that we are doing – whether it’s education or management, public policy or food service – is important work that displays to our kids the importance of contributing to society. it’s also setting an example for our children to follow, as voiced by {plenty of brilliant people, i’m sure, but here’s my mantra} Grey’s Anatomy season nine, episode five entitled “Beautiful Doom.” in this scene, Callie is reassuring Meredith that it’s okay to leave her child to work:

Hey. No, no, no. No. No, don’t do that to yourself. It’s good for her to see you work. It is good for her to see you achieve. Yes. That’s how she’ll become CEO one day. Yeah. ‘Cause mommy works. That’s good.

* allowing our children to blossom {and, yes, to feel afraid, to fall, to falter} in situations where our gaze is not constantly trained upon them will help them to grow into strong, independent individuals, which {as my husband so often reminds me} is the greatest goal of parenting anyway: to raise strong, independent individuals.

* in the absence of a parent’s watch, other relationships are able to foster and grow, and i cannot WAIT to see how my big boy Lionel embraces this change, the arrival of his baby brother at a place that brings L so much joy, as they share together the adventures of daycare as a duo.

Our-Boys'-Feet

yet, while this list gives me comfort from time to time, as i sit here, now with my sweet Q slumbering on my chest as i write, i’m giving myself permission to feel sadness, to feel guilt, to feel whatever it is that my heart wants to feel at this moment.

for today, i’ll let my heart soak up all of him as it prepares to let him fly on his own, to experience life without his Mama watching, in amazement, his every move.

for today, i’ll let my eyes close as his little body clings to my chest, as his fingers wrap themselves around one of mine.

Quincy-17-Weeksfor today, i’ll delight in nursing him from the breast, pushing away the thought of the bottle that will deliver my milk, instead, in my absence.

for today, i’ll make silly faces and alter my voice to sing-songy decibels to elicit that one, precious smile that will sustain me through the sadness that is imminent.

for today, i’ll relish all of him, from the spit-up and the diaper explosions to the rolls of chub on his baby body and the loud coos that take us by surprise, that seem to erupt from his very being, that distinguish him from the memories we have of his big brother’s babyhood.

the time to be brave is tomorrow, when my eyes linger a little too long on his sweet, growing-up-too-fast body before finally tearing myself away from the doorway.

until tomorrow, then.

About Sara

Sara works in higher education, but she's most proud of her role as a Mama to two precocious boys, Lionel Conner, age 4, and Quincy August, age 2. In honor of turning 30 in 2016, she pierced her nose to "keep her young." She loves watching guilty-pleasure television, writing about motherhood, decorating her first home, sipping red wine with her husband Jordan, and chasing after her sons.

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