The first five years of my motherhood I worked full time. That meant babysitter and preschool drop-offs every morning. Sometimes in two different locations depending on their ages.And every morning someone, or sometwo, or sometimes even three were in tears. Their don’t-leave-me-forever-tears are like acid on my heart. They burn. They rub it raw. Then they dump wasabi into it.
And for us, during those years, I financially needed to work. Especially if we wanted to eat and pay our mortgage. And those are good things.
Bad things are the guilt their welling eyes sear into me, branding me. Bad things are the, “I’m not getting out of the car,” tango. Bad things are the, “I’m already late for my meeting,” feeling as I heard my phone buzz in my pocket. Bad things are the leg-grab-wrap-around maneuver that even Jesse Ventura would have a hard time escaping.
Their babysitters and preschool teachers loved them. They still do. I trusted they were getting the best care possible in our little town.
“I’m not that cool.” I would tell them. It didn’t work.
I would get them interested in a puzzle and sneak out. It didn’t work.
We would do running hugs as a part of our Happy See Ya Later routine. It didn’t work.
“Your friends are waiting to play with you,” I would encourage. It didn’t work.
And then dazed and doubtful, when I arrived at work, I would pull into the parking lot, check my mascara for my own tear smudges and find myself still rocking out to Laurie Berkner, “I’m a Mess.”
Now fast forward to today, a random Thursday in November. This morning the older two willingly jumped on the bus to their elementary school. After their obligatory hug at the bus stop they were more concerned about who they would sit by and which swings they would race to at school.
And even more proudly, I dropped my 3 year old at preschool and he said to me, “You read me book and then we happy goodbye at door.” And we did.
And on this Thursday, I am thankful I’m no longer worth crying over.