A Check-in, Of Sorts

Where the hell did I leave off? Probably somewhere between making sense and talking incessantly about my extremely privileged life.  My therapist DOES always tell me I should be more neutral.

I think I left off explaining my maternity leave and touching maybe on how insanely backward the United States is in it’s policies (or lack thereof).  NEWSFLASH: The US government contacted me after having read my account and has now granted every postpartum mother 365 days of paid maternity leave.  Oh and every father gets 6 weeks paid paternity leave.

You’re welcome.

So I had maternity leave and went back to work and got laid off and blah and blah and blah you all know the sob story.  I got to play Stay at Home Mom for 5 months and I loved it.  I got this inane amount of satisfaction running our house.  I loved doing the laundry, putting it away, doing the dishes after cooking and planning our meals and paying the bills and taking care of Norah’s needs.  Seriously, I did.  I do!

Then unemployment ran out, and through some insane stroke of fate I found a job.  I started last Monday- working full time for a bit until part time will work.  And I was so nervous and so sure I’d make some mistake that I collapsed into a bundle of nerves.

And then ended up kinda, well, loving it.  I felt (feel) ready to leave my baby.  I felt (feel) proud that I can help provide for her and confident that she is okay without my constant presence.  More than that I feel like she is confident. She’s crawling up a storm, she’s babbling, she can tell us when she’s happy.  She so clearly can communicate that she’s okay.

I didn’t feel any of that when I returned to work after 8 weeks of leave.

I didn’t intend for this to be another diatribe on the merits/downfalls of the American system on maternity leave, but somehow I just kept talking and it did.

SORRY.

In short (ha!), I’m very happy.  I love the work and I love anticipating seeing Norah’s precious face every afternoon.  I love chewing on those delicious cheeks and asking her about her day.  I am loving this season of life.

Letters to Norah: Volume One

Dear Norah,

It’s the most cliche thing ever as a parent to say that I don’t know where the time went.  Like, I used to make fun of people for saying such things. I hope one day you’ll know what this feels like, because it’s as terrifying as it is amazing.

You started crying a few minutes ago, while I was writing this, and because we’re trying to get you to sleep longer without nursing your dad went to help.  I turned the mute button on the TV so I could hear him reading to you because it’s my favorite thing ever.  The voices he uses, the way he holds you, the way you turn and look up at him: I was foolish to think that before you came I could love him any more than I already did.

We had the best summer together, baby girl.  We have a routine now: I hear you stirring on the monitor and I announce my presence before I enter your room.  When I open the door and turn on the light you have the most beautiful smile ready for me.  Like you’ve been saving it.  I take you back to my bed and you eat and we snuggle and I ask you what your dreams were like.  I hope you dream of me.

Then we go downstairs and play and eat and play and eat and then we play and then we eat and then we sleep.  It’s a cycle that I have come to love. Now that you eat solids we switch things up- corn! green beans! strawberries! Bananas are your absolute favorite- you gobble those up.  I’ll be honest- you’re still all about the mighty Boob.  I don’t mind! It means you come back to me every once in a while, which is funny because you NEVER.STOP. MOVING.  You are a force to be reckoned with, my love.  You move so fast and so stealthily that I’m terrified I’ll forget to baby-proof (more like YOU-proof) something and you’ll electrocute yourself.  You do seem to have a death wish.   I adore your spirit.

Norah, I live every day with you, every minute, every hour and still I miss you when you sleep.  I long to have you near me, to smell you and see your smile and ask you questions you don’t comprehend.  I am torn between two worlds: one where you talk to me and tell me what you’re thinking, and one where you still need me to rock you to sleep.

You’re so fiercely independent already, which I love.  But the other day someone grabbed you from me, and you (like always) were so chill.  Until you turned around and realized I was somewhere else.  And you looked around, found me, and reached your chubby little arms out toward me.  My heart stopped.  I will always reach back.

I love you,

Mama