After the event
She sat in the coffee house, fumbling with her purse, making sure she had some spare change to make her purchase. She glanced at the menu on the wall, then back to the person behind the counter. He was busy preparing somebodies drink. She glanced behind her, just to check that a queue hadn’t formed. Glancing at her watch, she took out her phone, and again digested the time that displayed in the top corner. It was only two hours to wait, but the second hand was ticking by slowly and the pain in her chest was increasing dramatically. He was gone.
She had never left him with anyone else, let alone a stranger. This stranger didn’t even know how to cuddle him. It wasn’t simply a hug, but the way he liked it. This stranger didn’t know how to make him giggle, how to make him connect with the world around him. This stranger barely knew his name, yet it was his name that was etched across her heart, ever since he had entered her world.
She grabbed her hot chocolate, and sat on a chair. She was hiding the pain and doubt that was creeping into her mind, pulling out the paperwork that she had been given only 10 minutes before- the counter worker asked if everything was ok. She flashed a smile;
A lie, that rebounded of the wall and smacked her square in the face.
Her eyes focused on the paperwork, Questions….questions….questions
- Health history
- Emergency contacts
- Allergy Information
- Comforting methods etc.
Where to begin?
She felt wrong as she wrote down all the information requested of her, she knew they needed it, she knew everything intimately, of course that was no surprise. She’s his mother. She should. It was her instinct, her role, her responsibility.
The Drop Off
She didn’t know quite what to expect, two hours, surely it would be a paperwork exercise, getting to know his likes and dislikes. A session of information investigation, exploration and gleaming anything that could be gathered. Perhaps playing with him in this new environment after all the admin had taken place.
She walked in, glasping her son’s hand, as he toddled with her, laughing like a goon because he was actually getting pretty good at the whole walking thing. She barely had 10minutes before the stranger said;
‘You can leave now, anytime you feel comfortable and ready.’
You what? Comfortable? Ready?
His face looked up at hers. He had been leafing through a baby book, sat on his tiny baby bum, looking at the pictures in wonderment. He stopped what he was doing and stared straight at her. Surveying her face.
He could sense her anxiety, her worry, her reluctance. His face began to mirror hers.
She wiped the warmest, most genuine smile on her face, with an outpouring of love, to reassure him that she was OK- she wasn’t– but he didn’t need to know that. He beamed back, the smile he reserved solely for her.
After finishing their goodbyes, she exits the room. The door banged and echoed across the hallway. Strange how even the noisiest building full of children in different rooms can go so quiet. Children were laughing and playing, but the noise didn’t reach her. She was going through the necessary bodily movements to propel herself from that room, his room, to the front door. Going against every instinct she had, ever since he had been born she had been their to protect him and be his strength when he couldn’t be strong.
It took every ounce of strength to leave him. Alone. With strangers.
But she did. She sat in a coffeehouse nearby, watching the clock tick, posting pictures of her son to Instagram, making sure she had mobile signal, just encase.
She tried to tell herself;
It’s harder for us, than it is for them.
She wants to believe it. After all, it’s just her little boy starting nursery. Her 9 month old Little Lord. Parents across the world go through some version of this story at one point or another, as a very young baby, a toddler, a pre-schooler or taking those first steps into education.
She tells herself to wise up, she’s being irrational. It’s going to benefit him. A new chapter, a new beginning. Besides she doesn’t have a choice.
She rushed back, 5 minutes early, to pick him up. She entered the room expecting to hear his cries, but he was sat on the floor with the stranger who is ‘Lisa’, playing with a car. He doesn’t even register when she enters the room. But that’s because he hasn’t heard her yet.
She calls his name.
He looks up at her, is he relieved? Did he think she had abandoned him? He drops the car, crawls over Lisa’s legs, over toys galore, taking perhaps the most treacherous route just to get to her sooner. When he reaches her, she picks him up.
They cuddle, he gives her a kiss and after she finds out how he was over the 2 hours she hears the words echo out of her mouth.
‘See you next week girls.’
She would have to go through it all again. Another settling in session. Soon though, it would be a full day when she starts her new job in a couple of weeks. She hopes it’ll get easier. She knows it will get easier. There will be tears, there will be doubts, there will be fears but;
There will be;
- financially more beneficial
- much much more…
It will suck. But like the many before her, it’ll become the new routine, the new normal…it will become life.
If your little one is starting nursery soon, read [here] what you should pack for their first day.
Has your little one started childcare? How did you feel? Does it really get easier?
Let me know, leave me a comment and get in touch.