I anticipated a rough week. And I could probably sum this post up in one sentence but that would be too easy. And this is a blog, blog posts are supposed to take up pages and pages of words before making one small point.
Emory had his first half day of school this week. They were to spend the half day in their classroom while we sat in a room down the hall, waiting there just in case there were any serious meltdowns. (You know, the ones that last longer than a specific amount of time and include a consistent and high level of desperation.)
Emory has been with me since the day he was born. I don’t have a babysitter, although, my mother watches him sometimes. I haven’t used a nanny, nor have I used a daycare. It’s been him and me from day one.
I anticipated a great deal of anxiety from him. I readied myself for a long few weeks of crying and screaming and carrying on. I readied myself for the worst.
There was one time that he was roughly 8 months of age, Toby Joe and I visited a gym where they have a daycare. For five bucks an hour, you can work out and drop your kid off while you work out
Ten minutes went by before a woman came to collect us. He had had a full-fledged meltdown.
And so I anticipated that sort of reaction from him. And I’m sure that by now you’ve already guessed the outcome.
It was WORSE THAN HORRIBLE.
ha! Just kidding!
It was perfect! Emory did amazingly well. He adjusted immediately. The only tears took place the very first day whenever I returned to the room. I think he was startled by all the parents, who crashed through the door unannounced and all at once. When he saw my face, he broke down. But the best part was how he walked up to me with both his arms open. I got the best hug ever. (Emory is not very affectionate, much to his parent’s dismay.)
Today went really well too. There was no crying at all this time around, even when I returned to collect him. He seemed to have a blast and his teachers said he’s doing exceptionally well with adjusting. I left bursting with joy and relief.
On Monday we can drop them off for the full day, or stick around if we want to. I anticipated having to transition him for a bit longer. But I’m thinking now that that’s probably not going to be the case. Which means my “free time” begins next week.
Keep in mind, that many of us “stay-at-homes” gave up full time careers the moment we had children. I discussed this today with another mother, who happens to be the main caregiver at their home. Our husbands went back to work right after our sons were born. They have had time to themselves (good or bad) and continued doing what they were doing before. The stay-at-home gives all of that up. We no longer have regular alone time. We all but forget what it’s like. In a sense, we lose a little bit of ourselves. At least temporarily.
When I realized that starting next week I will have a set number of hours to myself, I felt a little nauseous.
What am I going to do with this time?
I once compared motherhood to being on house arrest and I received criticism for it. (Granted, I also received a lot of comments and email from people agreeing with said sentiment). It’s obviously not entirely true and I don’t think that way all the time, but the alienation and the difficulty at which one can come and go is pretty on.
That comparison resurfaced again today.
I have heard that some people released from solitary confinement get into trouble the very day they are set free. (I think there is even a term for this.) They have been inside for so long, they no longer have any idea how to cope with the outside world, or who they were before that time. Whether it’s conscious or not, they simply freak out.
What will I do next week? I have been asking myself this repeatedly.
I will probably pace around outside, waiting to go pick him up so I can hug him, cuddle him, kiss his wonderful pink cheeks. I will think of all the things I can make him for dinner, buy him, bake for him. I will think about reading to him.
(My goodness, do I ever love this person.)
Truth be told, I don’t want to be “free” ever again. Imagining a world without my son is a world I want no part of. Yes, I am very excited that I will have a given number of hours all to myself every week, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t also make me a little uneasy.