heartcare

My post for The Red Dress Club is at Exploded Moments today.  It’s about a memory involving a game.

**************

My summer was slipping by.

I was stuck in the house day in and day out with a colicky infant.  People were doing things and having fun and relaxing their summers away, and I was crying all the time.

I wanted to get away from my child, but I didn’t want to.

I wanted to love him and snuggle him and have wonderful days.

But I also wanted to run out the front door because my head wouldn’t stop pounding from his screams.

He never slept by himself.  He always had to be held.

I couldn’t get anything done.

I had postpartum depression and didn’t know it.

*************

The plan was that Eddie would go to daycare full time when I went back to work in the fall, but that he would go maybe a half day or a day a week for a couple weeks before that just so he (and I) could get used to the daycare routine.

Notice I said “plan” and “was”?

Yeah.  We should have learned by now that when we make life plans?  They rarely go our way.

And my plan to love every minute of being home with my little boy?  Definitely didn’t pan out the way I thought it would.

Cort convinced me to call our daycare provider and see if she could take Eddie for a half day, one day a week.  Just to give me a break.

She said yes.

It was a relief and a terror at the same time.

I had never left my baby with anyone other than family–and at that point not even many of them had been left alone with him.

As much as I wanted to get away, I couldn’t imagine my baby being somewhere without me.

The day I left Eddie for the first time, I couldn’t even stay and chat.  I must have looked like I was in a huge hurry, but really I was racing against my tears.

They began to fall before I even got back in my car.

And I started to ugly cry as I realized I had run out so fast I hadn’t even kissed him goodbye.

That afternoon my house got cleaned from top to bottom for the first time in months.  And I took a shower.  Before 6pm.

It was wonderful.

*************

Miss Amy has been a friend of mine for years.  She and I scrapbook together which means we have gone through pregnancies (mostly hers) and breakups (mostly mine) and laughed until we cried.  Plus she lives about 4.5 minutes from my house.  And that is just because I have to leave my subdivision to get to hers.  If I walked though the woods from my front yard to her backyard?  It would probably only take about 2.5 minutes.

She is loving and caring and wonderful.

She was the only person I ever wanted as a daycare provider, and when we got pregnant with Eddie, she didn’t have any openings.

Her license only allows her to take six children at a time and she was booked solid.

I refused to worry about it.  I knew something would come up and it would work out.  And honestly?  I had no idea that it would be so hard to leave my baby.  I was a clueless first time mom who had a rosey outlook on everything.

I remember being so excited when Miss Amy emailed us to tell us that she was losing a couple kids due to moving and other things and that if we wanted a spot for Eddie full time, it was ours.

There was squee-ing involved.

And we thought our world was perfect.

Then I had PPD.

But she was there for me.

Then Cort lost his job.

But she was there for us and let Eddie continue to come once a week, keeping a spot for him in case Cort found work.

And then Cort found work.

And we thought our world was perfect again.

*************

I never knew that leaving your child with someone else is like leaving a piece of your heart behind.

That first day that I left Eddie with Amy I cried of a broken heart.

She had part of it in her arms, and I could feel that.

Even now, when I am at work, she holds that piece of my heart safe all day.  She nurtures him and loves him like her own.  He said “Ahh ee” before he said “maa maa”.

It hurts less knowing that piece is being cared for, but it’s still an ache until I see him again at the end of the day.

But I always trust that when I get that piece of my heart back?  It will be in better shape than I left it.

*************

This weekend we got the news that next fall Amy won’t be able to take Eddie anymore.

There are lots of circumstances that I won’t go into, but with Eddie, she will exceed her six children limit.

We totally understand that she has to do this.

We know she is broken up about losing her little buddy.

I wish I could say that because I logically understand and know we will find something else, I feel fine about the whole thing.

But I don’t.

I cried ugly tears again last night at the thought of letting someone new hold a piece of my heart.

I buried my face in my pillow trying not to imagine my little boy meeting new people, learning new rules, and trying to nap in an unfamiliar place.

I know he will adapt.

He is braver and stronger than I am.

I just wish I could explain to him.  I wish I could make him understand and prepare him.

He is my heart.

How do I prepare my heart for this change?

*************

My dearest readers, Amy reads my blog.  And while I don’t believe any of you would say cruel things, I just thought it would be fair to tell you that she reads.  My intent is not to make her feel bad about any of this, just to share my heart.  And right now my heart hurts.
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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Oh Kate, I’m so sorry. I want to hold your head and heart for you and make you feel better. Will you accept virtual hugs and a kiss on the head?

    Eddie will be ok. You will be too.

  2. Oh, honey…

    I wrote about the other side of that heartbreak tonight.

    It sucks all around.

    If I lived near you, I’d be Eddie’s nanny. Felix would love him.

  3. I love me another Amy. We have to stick together! 😀

    In all seriousness, this just breaks my heart for all of you. I feel so blessed that my mom watches Darling Girl when I work. It hurts to leave her, but I know she’s with someone I love and trust so it’s not as bad. You have clearly found this with Amy. If I couldn’t take DG to my mom and dad’s, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. Even the thought of putting her in preschool next year is tearing me up inside. So I sort of understand. In a same only different way.

    Maybe you’ll get lucky and someone else will move or something so Eddie can have his spot back. A girl can dream, right? 😉

  4. My heart is hurting for you all. You are right about this:

    I know he will adapt.

    But you might be wrong about this:

    He is braver and stronger than I am.

    Not because I don’t think Eddie is brave and strong, but because YOU are also brave and strong. Your family will make it through this heartache, because of your love and your strength.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry your heart is aching. Its so hard when things don’t go as you plan. I know it’s hard to believe, but things will work out perfectly. HUGS!

  6. I am so sorry, Kate. It is a loss. But you and Eddie (and Amy!) will make it through this, and be even stronger and braver on the other side.

  7. Tell him, and allow him to be as much a part of the process of finding a new place as you can, because unless HE is comfortable and loves his new place, YOU will not be comfortable and love his new place.

  8. I so understand from both sides…Momma of two..now 10 and 15 and a daycare teacher for 17 years… Those parents and babies become family!! Hang in there…it will be ok!! I always told my parents going thru a tough time…It is harder on you…kids will settle/adjust and bounce right back!! HUGS!!

  9. Oh my goodness, Kate. You said this perfectly. I feel the exact same way every time I leave Christopher at day care – even now. When we went to a Montessori open house a few months ago, I had a serious panic attack thinking about Christopher being with someone else during the day. I hope that we never have to switch daycare providers. Good luck to you! Like you said, he will be OK. And so will you. ::hugs::

  10. Bawling my eyes out.

    He’ll be okay. He’ll have even more people to love and you will discover he has a resilience you never knew existed.

  11. When I had to return to work after my daughter, I cried every morning after I dropped her off. That daycare was not a good fit for her and she was always miserable. That only made things worse. We found a new center and it was rough at first, but she eventually adapted. And thrived.

    My son was like Eddie. Unless I held him, he screamed and cried. For four months. I had to put him in daycare at 2 months old and even though I also worked at this center, it was still incredibly hard to leave my baby in the care of someone else.

    I know what you’re going through. Kids can adapt so well, but it’s always hard on us when things change. I hope things work out.

  12. I hear you on so many of your comments. Kids are really adaptable – which is good – but at the same time, we want them to really miss us…. but be happy. It’s a heart-wrenching thing.

    Good luck to you, and I’m sending you some e-hugs to help you feel better xx

  13. When we left Richmond for Clif’s new job, it was hard to leave behind out friends. But what made it even harder was leaving the daycare that LOVED my children so much. The daycare that had nurtured them. The daycare they had blossomed in. When we moved, I settled for a daycare because it was the price and location we needed…I’m still not super happy with it, but my kids are. My kids are thriving and blossoming there…so even though I have some issues with it, they love it. They are very adabtable. It’s always harder on us than it is on them.

    I’m sorry…good luck in your new search.

  14. oh my sweet friend, I know how you feel. The first daycare we were in, while it was everything I said I wanted it to be was just awful..and before I totally lost my mind from the stress, that provider told us she wouldn’t take the boys anymore…it was the best thing that could have happened, because it forced us to find our “AMY” and I don’t know what I’d do without the people at the daycare they go to now. They are part of our family, my boys are there for about 10 hours a day and I need to feel like someone who loves them like I do are teaching and caring for them.
    I know Eddie and you will be ok. I also Know that Amy would do anything she coyld to make this different or better for you….I hope that your heart feels better soon and an agreeable and happy compromise is coming.

    BIG BIG BIG HUGS xoxo

  15. One of the hardest things that we do is parents is let go. But to make our children the wonderful individuals that they will become–one must let them go. I am sorry you are going through this–but, as you noted, it is harder for you than him. Whatever solution you come up with–he will adapt and thrive–cuz that is what children do best! 🙂

  16. You’re tough and things will work out for you. How lucky for Eddie to have such caring parents! You will find the solutions. And you’ll learn to let go a little bit at a time. Bittersweet journey, but so worth it.

  17. Oh Katie…sending you a hug, girl.

    Somehow, this will all work out and may be a good thing for Eddie at this new stage of his life. But I feel for you, would feel the same way, and I know his Amy is sad to lose him too.

  18. Seriously Katie, how is it every time you post something moving, I am in tears and have been there done that! I am doing this right now! Its agonizing!!!! I had to do it almost a year ago when I moved my then 16 month old from his in home day care to his now nursery school now have to move my 2.8 year old from nursery school to preschool at a new location and I am heartbroken!

    And I am sure Amy is heartbroken too! Sending hugs to both of you!

  19. I can’t imagine what you’re going through. Your words about PPD hit home with me. I need a break from my 11-week-old baby that constantly needs to be held, yet I hate being away from him for even a minute. I even hate leaving him with his father! Yet, I want to pull out my own hair most of the time. Today is one of those days. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding me I am not the only one who feels this way. Your writing is beautiful.

  20. I completely understand where you are coming from. Many years ago my daycare just dropped my kids. My oldest then 3 (the only daycare she had been to) and my youngest was approx 4 months. It was so hard to find someone and leave them with someone you trust.
    I worked for another 2 yrs outside the home and then opened a daycare in my home.
    I loved those kids and miss some of them (not all, to be honest some really got on my nerves). Eddie does miss you when your gone. Even though I’m sure he had buddies and a good time at daycare he is happiest with you.
    The sucky part of parenting is always letting go.
    Our children start out being so dependent on us and unfortunately its our job to teach them to spread their wings and become independent 🙂
    He’ll be okay. You’ll be okay. You have a beautiful summer ahead to enjoy each other and find an amazing replacement 🙂

  21. Such a heart wrenching story. I am so sorry. But you are right, he will be absolutely fine. For two years my sister was our nanny, so when she got a great job opportunity, I couldn’t imagine how I would let my little boy spend his whole day with someone else, plus I was pregnant. But we did find a new nanny and the little guy adapted without batting an eye. We are switching pre-schools next year and I am feeling the same way all over again. “But what if he misses his friends from this year?” I know we are doing what’s best for him, but boy just thinking of them being sad makes your heart break. (Strange, since when he’s screaming his lungs out from time-out, it doesn’t bug me one bit.)

    (Sorry no laughs this time. Next time.)

  22. This is so tough. We lost our daycare provider that we LOVED the day before Christmas break started and I had to find someone to start January 3rd. I cried almost the whole vacation. Like sobbed. It was tough but what I can tell you is that you will find someone you like as much (if not more). It’s tough during the search and even in the beginning I used to say “well, she’s not Allison” but now we love her and so do the kids. It’s hard but I promise it will work out!

  23. My heart breaks for you. This is so hard for us moms to deal with, but our kids are so much stronger than we think. He will be ok. And so will you.

    ((Hugs))

  24. I am so sorry Momma. My son has never been to daycare so o don’t know about pitting your heart and faith and trust into a strangers hands. Big warm hugs.

  25. Oh I am so sorry. I know something will work out, I just know it, but in the mean time BIG HUGS to you.