Tuesday, August 12, 2014
I'd been dreading yesterday for weeks, so much so that I half convinced myself and my family that I had appendicitis because of a persistent pain that developed on the right side of my stomach.
Lizzy slept through the night, but I was up at 4:00 a.m. (Something no one told me is that when your baby first starts sleeping through the night, you won't necessarily be able to after months of waking up. Perhaps because it reeks of a humble brag?)
I went back to bed, but popped awake minutes before the alarm was set to go off. Then I proceeded to get ready, crying in the shower, while getting dressed, and eating breakfast. If Lizzy feared her mother had gone insane, smiling at her like a maniac with tears streaming down her face, she didn't let it get her down; she was her happy, bubbly self.
Getting off the train was the worst. I felt like I was impersonating my old life - working Julie, bounding around Boston into the office. I can't explain why those moments in particular made me feel so bad. When I arrived at work, I truly had the nicest welcome you could wish for, complete with flowers, a special breakfast, and lots of doting colleagues asking all about the baby. I tried to turn off my thoughts about Lizzy and dive in, only to have to turn them back on when it came to time to pump in the morning and afternoon. I tried to do a bit of work at the time - two birds with one stone and all that - but instead I left splotchy tear marks all over my papers.
And yet. In the afternoon, I dashed off to a meeting to discuss a new project that I'll be working on. I got to share some ideas I'd collected from previous jobs, and others nodded along. Walking back to my desk, I had a crazy sense of freedom. I was alone! But I was also toting around a small cooler of milk. Tethered to my baby, but on a longer rope.
When I got home, Peter opened the door with Lizzy in his arms, and she smiled and leaned out for me to take her, which she'd never done before. I swelled with equal parts happiness at seeing her again and smelling her delicious baby smell and sadness that I had to leave again the next day, and the day after that, on and on. More tears and maniacal smiles.
I know that she didn't feel the ache that I did, and I don't think she ever will. She was happily at home with Peter, and in a few weeks, she'll happily attend her tiny daycare for the time that Peter's at school. It's me that's getting in the way here, and the selfish feeling that I want to be home with her and also speak with adults and make some money at work. It will get better in one way or another, I know that it will, but for now, I'll be the crazy lady masquerading as someone who has her emotions under control.
Cheers to Tuesday, my friends.