A wonderful thing happened on the first day Little Boy spent at daycare: I missed him.
Of course you missed your baby, you might be thinking. Every time you talk about daycare, you talk about how much you’re going to miss him.
What I didn’t realize was how strong that missing would be.
It’s a visceral emotion, this missing. An overwhelming desire to see my Little Boy’s expressions, hear his voice, pick him up and shower him with hugs and kisses. I want to hold him to my heart and feel the solid warmth of him in my arms. When we all got home that first evening, my husband and I were competing for who got to change Little Boy’s diaper. Not who had to, who got to. That’s how much we missed him.
I’m so relieved.
So this is what parental love feels like.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved my kid. But as a culture, we present motherhood as a magic, all-consuming love like nothing you’ve ever felt before. In consequence, it’s hard not to feel like there isn’t something just a little bit wrong with you when you want to take breaks from your baby.
It turns out I really, really need that time to be me. Because in the freedom to do my own thing, knowing that my child is safe and happy and having fun without me, I realize just how much he means to me. And I’m reassured that I am, in fact, capable of that kind of emotional connection.