It is a job that has been very difficult at times and absolutely demanding of my love and patience, and conversely has been one of the most significant things I have ever accomplished in my lifetime. I've cherished every single second of my time alone with this remarkably beautiful child, and am satisfied that she is going out to claim her part in the world of Pre-K as a self reliant, independent, articulate and inquisitive little girl and that I have had a good hand in helping achieve that.
She goes down for a nap about an hour after lunch every day, and when she wakes she's usually in a good mood if not a bit groggy. On groggy days she climbs up into my lap and snuggles up against me until she is sufficiently awake. Sometimes she tells me about whatever she dreamt about, sometimes we chatter about what we're going to do for the rest of the day, sometimes we don't talk at all - but always I hold her close to me and kiss her as many times as I can, she holds my index finger in her perfect little hand and we sit that way until she is satisfied and ready to climb out of my lap. Today she began asking more questions about school and starting it on Monday - How many more days until I go? Who is going to pick me up when my school is over? What are my friends names going to be? Are you going to be there too?
She was laying in a ball in my lap and could not see my face, which was good as I had a constant stream of tears running down it and could feel my voice threatning to crack as I tried to answer her questions.
Me: "You know, baby - today is a very special day for us."She got very quiet after I said that, I suppose it is because she's conditioned to having me with her and was getting the initial pangs of separation anxiety - I know I certainly was. She held on to me a bit tighter than normal and said nothing, and when I asked her what was wrong she said "I don't know." I asked her if she was happy about going to school or sad, and she repeated that she didn't know. I did not press the issue, at this point I was trying too hard to keep my now obvious crying from her and dealt with the burning ache in my throat while I held and continued giving hugs and kisses to my baby girl.
Avery: "It is? Why is this a berry special day?"
Me: "Well, because this is the last day that you're going to spend at home with me before school starts on Monday, so I think it is a very special day for us to be together."
Avery: "Yeah, but are you coming to my school with me?"
Me: "No, sweetie - I won't be at school, but I'll be at home waiting for you when you get back and I want you to tell me all about your day and what you did. You're going to have so much fun and you're going to make so many new friends, it's going to be great!"
I remember the day Maggie and Nathan told me that they were reasonably sure they were going to have a baby, it was after I'd made dinner for us all one evening and a couple of hours before we all went to bed. We talked about how it would change our lives having a new baby in the house, their relationship was still relatively green and they were as of then still unmarried but things were definitely headed in that direction. It was decided long before she even began showing that once the baby arrived that I would be the one to stay at home and take care of her, and I have. I held her for the first time when she was not quite an hour old, and I've been there for all of the firsts - first bath, first crawl, first baby food, first solid food, first smile, first laugh out loud, first steps, first dance (To "Lime In The Coconut", by Harry Nilsson), first everything, practically. Monday will be her first day of school, and I'll be at home to feed her breakfast, get her dressed, and fix her hair (as per her directive before I left the house this evening) and see her off from home. It will be a busy day for me, and I'm sure I'll be doing much more crying then. Then she'll come home about 2:45PM and tell me about her day, and we'll pick up the day where we usually leave off and all will be well again.
For now, I'm accepting the fact that it's going to happen and that it's a good thing, she needs this and frankly I could use the break to get other things done and have a bit more time to myself to do them without distraction. Still, I'm carrying a big weight on my heart and I'm feeling quite vulnerable and depressed. I know it'll pass soon enough and things will be good again very soon, but for now I'm having a difficult time getting a handle on my emotions and putting my composure sufficiently intact.
I'm grieving is what it is, and rather than being plain and simple it is multilayered and complicated. I don't like this, I really just don't.