Today is my last day of maternity leave. Technically, tomorrow is my last day, but since Ella's school is closed for solar panel installation, today is essentially my last day at home with Anna. And silly me--I waited until the last day to make an appointment to get my oil changed, and I'm now kicking myself, wishing that I could spend this last day completely locked away at home with my baby.
I'm feeling a little teary today. I know that it's time. I know that she is a wonderfully easy baby and will do just fine with my mom next week and then at daycare after that. I know that I'm valued and appreciated at work by my students, colleagues, and supervisors. I know that I would probably start going a little crazy here shortly if I spent too much time at home. I know that it's time, but it's still a little sad to think that I will no longer get these days alone with just her.
Sure, I have the weekends to which to look forward, but it's just not the same. Ella and my husband want--and deserve--my attention as well. I realized last night, as I nursed Anna around 2:00 in the morning, that our middle-of-the-night feedings will soon be our only "alone" time together. And soon, those will end too. While I'm anxious for her to start sleeping through the night, I'm also going to mourn that one-on-one cuddle time in the dark quiet.
I love being a mom, but I also feel that I am called to do the work that I do. I'm proud to have a career. It's nothing glamorous, but I know that I'm effective and make a difference for my students. I want my girls to be proud of me--I love how Ella smiles sweetly when she tells people that I work at the University. I could have lengthened my leave out longer, but when it comes down to it, I know that it's time. And really, I would have these mixed emotions about going back even if it were six months from now.
So today, I'm going to snuggle with my baby (when she wakes up). I'm going to take pictures so that I can bring them in to work with me and remember her at this stage, when it was just me and her at home...and then marvel at how she grows and develops each day when we're apart.
My blessing is that my mom is coming to spend that first week with us to help us with the transition when I go back to work. This way, I can get back into a routine of bringing Ella in to school and the going to work, while she helps Anna get into a routine of drinking regularly from a bottle and napping more regularly in her crib than on my chest (though I did spend considerably less time curled up on the couch with her than I did with Ella). I really think that this will be good for all of us to help us ease into what it means to be a working mom with two kids.