Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mourning motherhood

Dear girls,

If I sit still long enough, and think deeply, I can still easily remember that gutter-like feeling that nestled deep into my heart each day I left you at day care.

I had a job, an I-love-humanity kind of job. Before that, a career that evolved out of blood, sweat and tears One that I gave up in hopes that you would come to me some day.

And, when I knew you were going to arrive, I didn’t know then the immense feeling of loss I would feel within myself for having to leave you with strangers for the better part of your awake time.

It was not guilt.

I mourned and grieved for you each day, even though my work days included coffee breaks, quiet walks and conversation with adults.

Like a widow who lost her great love, I lost my two great loves each day, five days a week for six months.

Even when I knew you were in the best hands, I hurt. I regret even writing the word hurt, because it was so much deeper than that. I felt empty inside. I felt raw. I felt lost.

I would sit at my desk and picture you, J, kicking your feet in your bouncy chairs, and you, L, refusing bottles by caregivers, again. Both of you sitting there – you weren’t able to sit alone, yet – watching as other women, who are not your mother, care for you and a half dozen other children.

You were only a block away, but I felt like you were a million miles away.

After you were sick nearly every other week for six months, The Da! and I grew tired. Fees to keep you there added up each month to more than our home mortgage. In the end a mere couple hundred dollars was left over to pay me for the heartache I endured leaving you each day.

With proper budgeting, and many tears, we realized we could manage on one income better than we were managing on two. We sold a car and paid off the other one. And, we made a few other cuts.

And I cannot imagine it any other way. Yes, we need more money. Yes, I need to find ways to cut expenses on food and diapers and clothes.

But it is all worth it to me, to be here and watch you grow and learn. To be the one giving you your milk, your meals, your toys. To be the one to taking you outside under the glorious sun and not just watch you run and play, but help teach you how to play. I’m not the one to just tuck you in to bed each night and wake you the next day.

And, it’s beautiful. As hard as some days are, memories of those early days – carrying you both in to that day care in your infant carriers and handing you off to other moms – are far, far harder, even now, for me to bear.

This post is part of Mammablogga's group writing project. To read more letters like this go to her site.

10 comments:

HipWriterMama said...

Lovely post. You've been tagged.

M said...

I can't imagine! I've been home with my girls since my oldest was born. We know we are so fortunate. Thanks for a post that reminds me why I gave up what I did.

slouching mom said...

Oh, you got me all teary here. Beautiful, poignant post. And aren't they the most adorable girls.

Joy, of course! said...

What a fantastic post. Lovely, real, heartfelt and heart tugging. Thanks.

Mama Zen said...

Great post! Whatever you have to do, it is so worth it to be home if you can be.

Corey said...

beautiful...as are your girls! :) I was lucky enough to take my DD to work with me for the first year, then I had to start leaving her with the sitter 4 days a week. It was horrible. now it is alittle easier, as she loves to play with the other kids so much, but it is never EASY!
I am glad you are able to stay home with your loves!

Jordan said...

I really admire your honesty and your decision. Really, to make that sacrifice is so brave and wonderful. Thank you for doing what you knew was right.

And thanks for participating in the GWP!

mommy zabs said...

That is really sweet.

Stacie said...

What a beautiful post.

writermeeg said...

This really got me. I felt it. (sniff)

Oddly enough, I "pre-felt" this in my own life, just thinking of doing it myself, and never went back to work. We live on a shoestring now, and every day I know it's worth it for me. Not for everyone, and everyone must choose what is right for them. But, for me, I'm with you -- and so happy to be with my DD.