Baby Girl, do you know what I do all day while you’re at daycare and I’m at work?
Do you know that while you’re at daycare and I’m at work, I try my best to act like I know what I’m doing? I make decisions and answer questions. Sometimes I attend important meetings with important people and try to say smart things. But do you know that most of the time I feel neither important or smart? Do you know that most of the time I actually have no idea what I’m doing? Not even close.
I’m just trying to figure things out one step at a time. I ask a lot of questions and I make a lot of mistakes. And I try not to let it bother me – all the not knowing what to say and messing up, what feels like, all the time. But it does. And that’s why the big hug I get from you when I come home from at the end of our day is extra special.
“The feeling of you in my arms always fills me right back up.”
Do you know that while you’re at daycare and I’m at work, I sometimes take myself out to lunch? That once in a while I sit all by myself at a table for two, smack dab in the sun, just like a kitty cat? I’ll eat rice or noodles from a big bowl and think about lots of things. Work, your daddy, myself, and you. And I remember that you’re in your own place all on your own too. And I always don’t know exactly what you’re doing at that moment, but I know we’re okay and we’re where we’re supposed to be, even though I miss you. And isn’t that so weird?
Did you know that sometimes I sneak away from my computer and do other things all by myself too? Special, unassuming things, that feel surreal without a toddler in tow. I like to get coffee on the way to work. Not really because I need it – although sometimes I do – really, I get coffee just because I can. I like to walk into the shop, instead of going through the drive-through, because I don’t have a kid and their car seat to contend with. Getting to put the sugar and cinnamon in my coffee exactly the way I want feels equal parts satisfying and rebellious.
I might meet a friend for lunch once in a very blue moon and end up mostly talking about you. Or, I’ll walk around Target on my lunch break and try on clothes just for fun because that’s nearly impossible to do when we’re together. I’ll go on lots of walks and listen to a podcast, or music that I’ve been collecting since way before you were ever born. And then I’ll feel like I forgot something, something is definitely missing. My wallet, my keys, my phone? Nope. It’s you.
“I always feel like I’m missing something when you’re not around. I am tethered to you, even when we are untethered.”
Do you know that I go back to my desk and try not to get too fixated on how many hours are still left in the day? I alternate between checking email and checking your nap log on the daycare app. Or scrolling through work files and also photos of you from the weekend on my phone. Finally, I get to drive home, and the whole way back I mentally prepare myself for the impending dinner, bath, bedtime hustle. Did you know that when we both finally get home, I will never not love the way you run to my feet for a hug so I can scoop you up in my arms? You’ve just recently learned how to hug me back. How to really squeeze me tight in your arms, the way I squeeze you. And nothing – absolutely nothing – is better than that.
There’s a John Steinbeck quote that gets floated around this time of year. “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” That’s how my days – how my life – feels now that you are in it. Those days at work, while you’re at daycare, are long. It’s funny how they make both your hugs feel tighter and my coffee taste better.
But did you know baby girl, that no matter what happens while we’re apart, living our separate lives at daycare and work for those nine hours, you are always the best part of my day?