May Ninth

Monday, May 13, 2013

So… I last left you with my hesitations and sentiments going into my first week back at work.

Spoiler alert: I survived. Charlotte is still breathing and I don’t think she hates me.

Last Monday night felt like my first day of high school… I carefully picked out my clothes.  My lunch was packed.  Charlotte’s bottles were all ready {okay, so that was less like high school}.  Everything I needed for the next morning was carefully laid out so I could spend as much time as I could with Charlotte and also get out the door on time.  I was nervous and starting to feel a little excited {cheerful texts from my co-workers helped} but also feeling sad and a little guilty for feeling excited.  I gave Charlotte 500 kisses when I put her to bed, like she wasn’t going to be there in the morning.

The next morning was a mix of new and normal…changing diapers and playing in bed and pumping and naptime.  But watching the clock and getting dressed and messing with my hair and checking my purse 60 times to make sure I had everything I needed.  Tyler delayed his departure so we were both home when Cora arrived and so he could help push me out the door.  Charlotte was already back down for her morning nap which helped.

I got out the door without incident, but teared up as soon as I got in my car.  I pulled it together and drove to work without incident.  And then I got out of my car, walked up the steps and teared up again.  I pulled it together and walked through the front door without incident.  And then I saw this sweet sign made by my co-workers and kiddos.

And teared up again and pulled it together again…And that’s pretty much how the day went!  No major breakdowns, just watery eyes followed by a swift “Pull it together sister!”

The morning went by quickly with a mix of new and familiar faces—the good thing about my job is that it is fast paced and once you get started seeing patients, there’s not a lot of downtime in between.  I would occasionally notice the time and think, “Oh, she’s probably still asleep…” or “She should be waking up for her bottle any time now…”  Cora was sweet about sending me texts and updates.


{And that was just three hours in.}

I had a home visit that afternoon that just happened to be about a mile from where we lived so I stopped by beforehand for a quick peak at Charlotte.  Knowing I might get to see her helped get me out the door on that first day.  Of course, she was sweet and fine and Cora kindly tolerated with my craziness.

The rest of the day at work went similarly to the morning—our office manager baked a cake to make me feel celebrated and I enjoyed spending time with some of my favorite kids and catching up with their parents and nannies.  My co-workers seemed excited to see me {I’d texted one the day before and asked, “No sympathy hugs please!! Only cheery ones!” Or else I knew I’d have a meltdown…} . I definitely felt rusty though!  Most of my sessions were just getting re-acquainted with the kids and assessing how they’d changed over the past few months.  Everyone tolerated my spacey brain and lack of new ideas on my first day back with them!  I worked hard to stay on top of my paperwork so I could get out the door as fast as possible… A sweet baby and a paid baby-sitter are sure way to get you the door at 5:00!

Charlotte was napping when I got home and Cora gave a detailed run down of their day.  Of course, all went well, just as I expected.  My hesitations going back to work had nothing to do with Charlotte’s welfare with Cora!

I enjoyed the rest of the evening with Charlotte just like normal and by bedtime it was almost like I hadn’t been away.  There was so much build-up to this day and all of the anticipation left me celebrating my survival… And then I realized I had to do it all again tomorrow.

This was my new normal.

I went from triumphant to again unsure and emotional.

But the next day came and I was blessedly running late, leaving no time for lingering or sadness.  I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly the day went, again catching up with old and new faces, and shaking the dust from my brain.  There were a few moments I would catch myself feeling proud…I was doing it!  I’d spent time with my girl that morning, made it out the door in matching, clean clothes, and was at work doing my job the best I could after three months away.  I was a working mom. 

And it wasn’t that bad!  I wasn’t just surviving and stashing away tissues.  I was enjoying my time with my co-workers and patients, and was staying on top of everything that needed to be done.  Wednesday ended as Tuesday did…Charlotte was in her crib when I got home and we spent the rest of the afternoon playing.  I even managed to cook dinner!

Thursdays I only work until lunchtime and since we were going out of town for another work trip, Tyler stayed home with her. 

And just like that, after all that dread and build up, my first week was over!  I was relieved and proud of myself.  While I know I will probably always prefer to be with Charlotte full time, I think the decision to work right now is the best one.  For all of the reasons I previously named…financial responsibility, maintaining my skill set, using the degree I worked for, being an example for my kids...

So here we are!  Our new normal.  I made it to the other side and it’s not all that bad.  Dare I say it might even be good?  Okay, not sure I’m ready for that yet.  Maybe one day.  For now, it works!

I am so thankful for a husband that supports my time at home, instead of resenting me.  I am thankful for a workplace and a career that supports me and allows me to control my schedule. I am thankful for in-home care so Charlotte gets to stay home. I am thankful for sweet friends who love my daughter.  For all this, I give thanks.

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 

                                I Thessalonians 5:18

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