There are many bad things about social media, but there are also many good things. One of those good things is the timeline feature, where Facebook shows me what I posted exactly one year ago today. And one year ago today I posted this.
Go ahead and (re)read it: I'll wait.
It was so interesting to read where I was at, mentally and emotionally, on that first day of daycare. And I'm so, so grateful that I was doing a 365 project at the time, because it means I caught many such milestone moments in my first year as a mother.
And it got me thinking about the difference between Jenny O, mother-to-a-six-month-old, and Jenny O, mother-to-an-eighteen-month-old. Most specifically, it got me thinking about what I felt this morning, as opposed to that morning.
This morning I got up a little early, as I do on Tuesdays, because Tuesday is the day of the week I take Neeps to daycare. We had our respective breakfasts, I loaded him into the car, and off we went. On the drive over, he announced, "Red car! Black car! Red car! Red car!" (Identifying cars is the new favorite pass-time) Once we got to daycare I unstrapped him, carried him into the building, and then put him down to walk under his own power to the classroom. Which he did, with a brief pause to peek inside the kitchen and say, "Ello!" ("Hi Neeps!" came the cheerful reply of someone I don't know- apparently my son gets around...)
I opened the door to let him into his classroom, delivered the various bits of detritus that go along with having a child in a daycare, and then picked him up to say goodbye. He gave me a long, long hug (not usual: typically such affection is reserved for Daddy alone), then turned from my arms to his teacher's. And I was suffused with a warm glow of satisfaction that he is so loved and cared for while I'm at work.
And then I went to work, and I didn't really think about him much for the rest of the day. Except for when I checked Facebook and saw last year's post. And then when a client came in and I showed off some photos. And later when a product partner called and asked about him. And later still when I mentioned to the second-graders I was volunteering with that I had couldn't stay forever because I had to pick my son up from daycare. (One boy freaked out with joy when he realized that he attends the same daycare- it was super cute). So yeah, okay actually I thought about my son a decent amount, but not with any sort of pain or longing. Just love and pride and satisfaction.
I left work to pick him up (a half hour later than I would have last year, since we've changed our hours), and got the pleasure of watching him unobserved for a little bit. He was wrangling two toy vacuum cleaners- but then he noticed me and charged the door. I scooped him up and was treated to another long hug, collected the various bits of detritus (some new), peeled off the random toddler who had attached himself to my legs, and off we went to Boozeday.
So there you go, Past Jenny O- you made the right choice for your family, just like you figured. Neeps is happy, I am happy, Nathan is happy- we are better parents thanks to the caring professionals who take over for the childcare weekday-shift. It's worked out better than we ever could have anticipated- and probably most of our other choices will, too. Which, of course, means that Present Jenny O can breathe a little easier, too.