I am quite thoroughly depressed on this last night of summer vacation. I’ve been incredibly busy this summer, so in many ways this has felt like a very long couple of months. But they have been long in an awesome, amazing, I-never-want-them-to-end kind of way. I have loved my summer as a stay at home mom. If I could swing it financially, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to choose staying home full time until Emma is in school. Unfortunately, that is not in the cards, so I suppose there is no point in dwelling in what ifs.
I very much enjoy my job, and I’d be lying if I said that the back to school excitement has completely escaped me. There is something magical about the start of a new school year, something that I’ve always loved since I was in elementary school myself. Once you get past the sadness of summer’s passing, you can’t help but get swept away in the anticipation of new school supplies, new clothes, new friends, and the chance at a fresh start. My head has been buzzing for a couple of weeks now with grandiose plans and ideas for this year’s crop of students. So, in a lot of ways, I am ready to go back to work.
What I am most saddened by is not necessarily the end of summer, but the end of my unlimited time with Emma. I have so thoroughly enjoyed every moment that I’ve spent with her these past nine weeks. It has been amazing to go and do and discover and explore all day with her. I love being there to hear the new words she says or to watch her learn a new skill or come up with a new dance. I love being there to share every smile, wipe away every tear and even to endure every temper tantrum. When I’m at work I feel like I miss out on so much of her life, because my time with her is cut down to just a few hours a day during the week. I am lucky because my parents watch Emma while I work, but I still can’t help constantly worrying about her and missing her. What I am most worried about now is that she won’t understand why Mommy suddenly has to leave her every day. It breaks my heart to think about her being at home wanting me and missing me when I can’t be there for her. I just wish there was some way for her to know and understand that I don’t have a choice, and that I love her so, so painfully much.
I know I should focus on the positive. I am lucky to have had this time with her at all. I also have a great schedule with breaks and days off, so I really do get to spend a pretty good amount of time with her compared to most people who work a full time job. And I know that Emma will adjust. When I’m capable of thinking reasonably, between bouts of tears and despair, I know that my going to work isn’t likely to scar her or create any lasting psychological damage. All the parenting books assure me that it is really the quality of the time you spend together, not the quantity, that is important.
But it’s still depressing. Excuse me while I go drown my sorrows in a half gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough.