I've felt this day sneaking up on me for a while now. I've watched it out of the corner of my eye and tried to ignore it more and more as it inched closer. But here it is. Already! How did that happen? How did six entire MONTHS of maternity leave slip by me at such a relentless pace?
I'm an emotional contradiction today--excited to go back to a job I love (with other adult people--yay!), nervous about how Bennett will do without me, thankful I've been blessed by such a long leave, heartbroken that it's already over.
I keep getting the question, "Is it harder this time?" and I don't really know how to answer. It's just as impossible this time as it was with Gavin. I'm leaving one of the people I love most in this world with people who don't know how to make him laugh, and that he likes to be sung to when he's falling asleep, or that he sometimes prefers to suck on a finger instead of a binky. I wonder what milestones I'll undoubtedly miss because I'm not with him, and if he'll think I've abandoned him. That's the hard part.
But it's easier, too. Because this time I know I'm a better mommy when I work. The stay-at-home gig just isn't for me. I appreciate time with my boys so much more when I'm away from them during the day. And this time I know and love and trust the women taking care of Bennett like they were members of my own family. After all, all of us Wecare moms affectionately call them the baby whisperers.
It's easier because this time I know Bennett will be okay. I'll be okay. We'll all be OK.
Still...I will forever miss these first months when I got to spend my days studying the slight curve of Bennett's eyelashes, the way he sucks his lip when he sleeps, the scrunchy face he makes right before he cries, and the 1,001 other little quirks that make him the perfect little man that he is. Because nothing can replace warm baby snuggles and open-mouthed kisses.
I wouldn't trade these past six months for anything.
It's easier this time. It's harder this time. I'm ready. I'm not ready. I'm excited. I'm heartbroken. Sounds a bit like a metaphor for motherhood, right?