Monday, January 19, 2009

The end of an era


This is the way the receptionist at Blake's new nursery, herself a mother, put it to me: "It's the end of an era. Of course you're going to be sad."
I'll start with the good news: We were on time! I had hoped to leave at 9:30 and of course we didn't, but we came fairly close - 9:40. This is something we're going to need to work on. We got the bus down to Ladbroke Grove and it seemed fairly easy. Another good piece of news was that they were still expecting us! I suddenly had the thought on the way down that I'd made up that today was the day.
We went through to the baby room and met two of the carers there, Lisa and Georgina. There were only 3 other babies there today and Blake seemed interested in the new toys while I stressed over my lack of labels for his bottle, cup and clothes! After 5 minutes it was clear Blake was fine, so Matt and I left and went to the office to discuss logistics and to cover any questions (I had several). I was feeling ok despite having gotten a bit teary on the bus ride down. With our questions answered, we went off to get a coffee. We went to Lisboa Patisserie on Golborne Road, home of delicious Portugese custard tarts that I love. Somewhere between a sip of latte and a bite of tart, I lost it and started crying quite hard. My little baby, alone in there without me! (obviously, he's not alone...) What if he can't handle it? What if he gets hurt? What if he misses me? Was this the best choice for him? Matt reminded me that Blake is not the most fragile of babies, and that he would be fine. The crying was messing up the flavor of the tart so I reeled it in a bit, but started up again later on the walk back. When we went in to get Blake after an hour, he was with Georgina looking at an abacus and holding a breadstick; he seemed pretty content. It wasn't until he saw us that he started crying. He'll be fine, I'm sure.
After the bus ride home, it was time for an early lunch as we shifted on to a different schedule today to try to get in line with the nursery's schedule. In between feeding Blake bites of tuna pasta, I really started crying, fully processing all the time I'm going not to be with him. He got a funny look on his face as he noticed my huge crocodile tears, and he then just giggled! Evidently seeing his mother an inconsolable wreck was quite funny! Of course this cheered me up a bit but it's a really physical thing that comes over me when I think about it, and it's not easily contained.

Of course Blake is going to be fine. As I've always said, I think my going back to work will be good for me, and it will be good for him to be around other babies. I've been incredibly lucky to be able to take a year off work. And today, none of these things had changed, but suddenly, we'd reached the day that was going to come eventually, whether now or in 4 years when he would have to go off to school. Sitting in front of him while he was in his highchair, however, he seemed so young still. I questioned whether it was too early to send him to nursery - should we have sent him to a childminder? should I have looked into getting a nanny? No, no, and no. Matt and I both agreed from the beginning that we thought nursery was best for us all, so it's not that that is the issue. The issue is that the little person who was once physically a part of me, is now growing up, and will now be apart from me for even longer stretches of the day. And it hurts. Pass the Kleenex please, it's going to be a tricky couple of weeks.

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