I remember the first time I dropped Tori off at daycare. I’d been crying for a good 24 hours, so by the time I arrived at my new babysitter’s door, my eyes were practically swollen shut. As I handed her over to her caretaker every cell in my body screamed, begging me to snatch her back and head for home.
Walking out that door was just about the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Still, I knew it would get easier. Everyone assured me it would. I would adjust, they said. We both would. Leaving her would come to seem normal. A few of my more candid friends even promised that I would begin to look forward to dropping her off.
And what they said proved to be true. Overall, it did get easier. There are actually times when I’m glad that I can leave her with someone else for a few hours. But it still doesn’t feel right.
When I go in to wake her up in the morning and she burrows further into her mattress, there’s a little part of me that whispers, “just let her sleep.”
When I’m bundling her into her coat and she cries, “no, mommy, no,” there’s a little voice that says, “just stay home today.”
And when I’m walking away after hugging her good bye, watching her tiny little body curl in on itself sadly as she stands, alone, in the room I’ve just left? That voice quietly shouts, “go back, go back, go back, go home!”
So sure, it got easier. I learned to live with the bargain I’d made. But leaving Tori? It never stopped hurting. It never started seeming normal. And you know what? I don’t think it ever will.