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Monday, June 15, 2015

Here's What Happened My First Day Away From Henry

Last wednesday I had a moment where I looked down on myself and thought : what I'm doing is so bizarre;  how did I get here?

It was my first long day of work since my baby was born.   I was in a small, locked room pumping between clients, nervously eating one baby carrot after another, staring at my favorite picture of Henry, and quietly crying.

Up until that day, I'd only been away from Henry for a few hours; I either brought him with me to the the studio or left him at home with my husband.  The only exception being my friends' wedding where I neglected to bring a pump and had to sneak out half way through dinner fearing that my breasts would explode and kill all their guests.

When the day arrived for me to return to Restore 353 (the restorative/rehabilitative doctor's office where I work), I was anxious but feeling strong.  I had, after all, found the greatest nanny, Fatou.  I prepped Henry all morning telling him that today mommy would go to work, and he and Fatou would have so much fun together.  When Fatou got to my apartment, Henry knew what that meant and started to cry.  Then I began to cry.  Fatou swooped Henry into her arms and soothed him.  I wished I had my own Fatou to cradle me, but since I did not, I pulled it together, gave Henry a kiss, and walked to the train.   If I'm having a horrible time, I will just go home.   If I'm having a horrible time, I will just go home.  

I'm not gonna sugar coat it, the day was a struggle.  I was happy to see my coworkers and clients, but all day long I felt like I couldn't get a deep breath.  And I'm a yoga teacher; I'm really good at breathing!  I felt defective, like I'd left a sliver of my brain and a slice of my heart at home.

My mom told me that the first time she left Genevieve (my oldest sister), she wanted to run red lights and bulldoze the cars in front of her to get back home.  That evening, I knew the feeling.  I twitched and fidgeted the entire bus ride home; I couldn't get there fast enough.  I was going to be home earlier than expected, and I called Fatou to let her know.  She and Henry were taking a walk, and I ended up beating them home.  Alone in my empty apartment,  I felt like I was gonna come out of my skin; I paced up and down the length of my apartment.  Where is he? Where is he?  A few minutes later they were home, Henry was in my arms, and the world was an okay place again.  

Then came more water works, this time only from me.  I wanted to hold him so close, but Henry kept pulling his face back to look at me, and when he did, he had sparkles in his eyes, and a smile across his face.  We had exactly two hours together until bedtime, and for those two hours, I was the most present with him I'd ever been.  He babbled, and I listened.  I read to him, and he giggled.  I nursed him, and he fell asleep in my arms.  Heaven.

Wednesday was the hardest day of my life that ended with the sweetest two hours of my life.   I can't be with Henry every hour of every day, but I can definitely make the most of when I am.

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