When I dropped her off with Grandma this morning, my mother in law actually had to pry her from my arm (which she was pinching hard). Marcie cried. I felt awful. I needed to leave Marcie today so I could race Casey over to speech, return him to school, drive to Del Mar to meet friends for lunch, then zoom off to school. Plus, I am trying to transition myself away from Marcie.
I know all moms have massive anxiety when they return to work. I really thought I'd be crawling up the walls being home for so long. But I'm not. I'm okay with going back to work. I like working. I like the people with whom I work. And I'm really fortunate to have Grandma to watch Marcie-- she loves Marcie, and I know Marcie is well cared-for while we are away. I should be grateful. I am grateful. But it's still hard. . .
It's likely I won't be the one to watch Marcie walk for the first time. Not a step here or there, but really walk. I won't get to read stories to Casey's class, or check out his little friends to see how cute Kaitlyn is or if Jacob really does push him. I won't be the one to drop Casey off and pick him up from speech-- certain to get a weekly update on his progress. I won't be the one who rocks Marcie to sleep at naptime, or who shuffles whatever I'm eating for lunch into her mouth.
I don't know what's worse-- that stomach-knotting-guilt feeling that accompanies watching your child cry when you hand her over and leave the room (even though the person you are leaving her with is her grandmother or her father or someone else equally well equipped to meet her needs), or the stomach-knotting-low-life feeling that accompanies watching your child squeal with joy when you hand her over (to someone who she loves and who loves her back) and leave the room.
Perhaps it is terrible to admit. But in the first instance, though it's mainly painful, there is a part of me that thinks, Yeah. She still wants ME. She still loves me BEST. I'M the one she turns to for comfort. In the second instance, though it's mainly comforting, there is a small part of me that thinks, Hey-- I'M your mother. I'M the one you should turn to for comfort and joy. Is that selfish of me? Probably. But I think every mom (and dad) feels that way. I still remember when Casey went through that phase where the only person he wanted was Daddy.
I know that once I left this morning and walked out the door, Marcie was fine. I have no question in my mind that she's having a terrific time with her grandmother. I don't know why I'm making this about me. But I doubt that I'm the only mother who does.