Letter to Piglet at Five Months - on my last day of maternity leave!
What a curious journey. In five short months I've gone from the woman who would be pregnant forever to a real mother...and you've been my trusty sidekick all along. Unthinkable in some ways, really, because often it feels like you've always been here. Was there ever a time I had long, idle days that I spend lounging around and watching Food Network reruns? Did I ever fix dinner without you perched on the counter in your Bumbo, watchful eyes taking everything in? You've put your slobbery little hand-stamp on every last inch of my life and far from it feeling oppressive, it's actually pretty wonderful.
I have to tell you that the last month has felt not unlike emerging from a thick, hormonal and sometimes pretty desperate fog. The change in you, now that you can sit up, interact, laugh and SLEEP!!! is nothing short of farking remarkable. Not that you were a particularly challenging baby before, except for your heinous sleep issues. We truly count ourselves to be incredibly fortunate, because you are beyond perfect, but like any wee bairn you threw our household and heretofore relatively uncomplicated lives for a loop. Thinking on the first three months does have me squirming in my chair a little - but you know what's funny? Not once during your even most trying moments did I ever reconsider my intention to give you lots and lots of siblings! And from what I'm told, this is a rare conviction on the part of new mothers. So I would take that as a compliment! Even in our darkest moments, there was never any question that you had enriched our lives beyond anything we could ever have contemplated and we would do it a hundred times over. I used to wonder at how parents could so unequivocally state that they would give up anything, up to and including their lives, for their children, and I wondered if I would ever feel that sort of all-encompassing, totally consuming love. The short answer is yes. It happens to the best of us, I guess! But it's true...there is no doubt in my mind about the lengths I would go to to keep you safe and happy. It doesn't even come from an emotional place. It's just something I know for sure, and forever.
This is especially important for me to get out on paper for you today because today is officially my last day of maternity leave. On Monday, you, me and daddy are going to strap you into the carrier and tootle on down to my office, where your care will be entrusted to the wonderful teachers in the infant room at Bright Horizons. Your new world for the next three months. As convinced as I am that this is the best thing for our family, it would be a bald fib to claim that I'm not nervous about the transition. How on earth will I get everything I do now done and work forty hours a week (this being on a reduced schedule!)? I've dutifully made up a meal and chore plan that are stuck up on the fridge, but how long until the "systems" collapse under the weight of daddy and my respective workloads?? How will you adjust? You're a smart little thing and already detect and shun most strangers! You've only just gotten into a good sleeping routine. You're humorous and sweet but also demand lots of attention. But at the same time, my more logical self knows that everything is really unfolding as it should.
I want you to know that while I never seriously contemplated not returning to work, our choice to be a "working family" is not one that was made without deep, critical and continuous thought. This may be a particular issue for you because we aren't the "typical" working family, either. There will likely be many days that your father or I will walk in the door much later than 6, or when you'll encounter us working late into the night from home or on weekends. I hope that you'll understand why it's so important for us to work hard and achieve things for the family that we never had growing up, and also that we would never pursue these things to the detriment of you or your future siblings. All of our decisions are subject to being switched up if for one second we feel that we're not doing the best we can by you...who knows, by the time you're reading this, we could be living completely different lives!
There's not a day that goes by when I'm not completely grateful for this time we've been able to spend together, even when it's been hairy and I've longingly thought of my office and a skinny tall latte that I could drink HOT in SILENCE. For all my anxieties and tendency to question every little decision along the way, I can't look at you and not think that we can't be totally botching the operation. You look happy enough and frankly you're just unreasonably cute sometimes! You seem to love the silly faces and songs and dances I do for your sole entertainment. Your favorite activity, which I'm happy to tolerate for now, is grabbing fistfuls of my face while standing on my lap...ouch! In fact, you find the greatest delight in some pretty insane stuff...and so if I'm destined to mess you up somehow hopefully the ship hasn't sailed yet!
Mad love for you, Miss Piglet, even though you're currently screaming the apartment down. Time to stop waxing philosophical about parenting and instead perform!