The much awaited, yet dreaded day is around the corner – the end of my maternity leave. While the promise of adult company and some much needed intellectual stimulation is exhilarating, the thought of parting ways with my tiny human being is heart wrenching.
With a heavy heart (and some anticipation of me-time after nine whole months), I dropped off my little angel for her first day at nursery. Then, after sitting outside for two hours, I drove home.
They say home is where the heart is, but my heart surely wasn’t at the place I call home. She was sitting in a completely foreign room, playing with strangers. Strangers trained in early childhood education, but strangers nevertheless.
I can imagine her now, sitting there gazing at the walls of an unfamiliar room, a new toy in her hand. At the same time, I sit on the couch in my living room looking at the toys strewn across the floor. A scene so familiar, yet it seems alien to me today.
I think about her going down for her morning nap in a new room, in a new cot. The sheets don’t smell of mommy and daddy and she doesn’t recognize the hand stroking her back. I contemplate taking a nap to help my headache, but the bed I sleep soundly in every night just doesn’t seem the same without a little person snoring next to me.
I picture her being fed lunch by somebody she’s just met, sitting in a chair she’s not familiar with. Will she eat the food I so lovingly packed for her this morning, or will she throw it on the floor and then look around wondering where it went? I sit myself down on the dining table, in my usual place next to the highchair. I look down at the polished floor – not a spec of baby food to be cleaned. I can’t eat. It doesn’t feel like lunch time without somebody trying to steal food off my plate and blow raspberries at me as I plead to them to eat another spoonful.
I sit here now and I wonder – whose house is this anyways? My husband and I visited tens of apartments before choosing one to call our own. We spent months collecting, matching and arranging furniture and knickknacks to make it a home. Then along came a little person and she took over everything.
I gaze at the stack of baby books at the bottom of the bookshelf. Where are my car keys?