I dreaded the arrival of September 14th all summer long.
I remember how happy and relieved I felt when I packed up my desk and headed home for what I thought would be three weeks of bedrest before my May 24th due date. I was huge, and exhausted, and had a mad case of babyitis. Sitting through eight hours of work was getting harder and harder, so I felt as if a very heavy weight had been lifted when my doctor ordered me to spend the rest of my pregnancy on the couch. All I could think as I left work that day was — I have THREE WEEKS AND FOUR MONTHS off from work. That's like, forever.
Turns out I only had two weeks and four months off from work. And it was definitely not forever.
Forever is how I now feel about working. As in — I will have to say goodbye to my baby every morning, Monday through Friday, from now until forever.
Forever is how long I will feel guilty about leaving Calvin with someone who is not me for nine hours every day.
Forever is the amount of time I will treasure those first four months at home with him, because they were precious and I know I can never have them back.
Forever is the number of days I will miss him when we go our separate ways.
This week, in these first few days back at work, forever feels scary and overwhelming. But I know I won't be this sad forever. I won't be crying when I put him to bed at night forever. I won't feel like my heart has been ripped out of my chest every morning when I leave for work forever. We'll find a routine, a pattern, a new way of going about our days. Time flies. In another two weeks and four months, I'll be settled into work and he'll be settled into daycare, and we'll both be fine. We'll play and read and laugh and cuddle together when I am home, just as we did this summer. I'll soak up the moments I'm with him and they will sustain me when I'm not.
He will be my baby, forever.