I waddled down the long hallway still carrying my son and what seemed to be all of his belongings. I reached his room and one of the care givers smiled at me and put her arms out toward us. “Welcome.” This was a defining moment for me. We locked eyes and I took a deep breath. She replied, “Don’t worry. It will be ok.” After a few moments, I handed her my son and placed him in her arms. Nobody told me it was going to be this hard.
To keep myself busy, I went toward the back of the room and aimlessly searched for his cubby. Once I found it, I soon packed his little cubicle with all of his favorite things including Sweet Potato Puffs and Cheerios. I made sure his little area was organized and clean. I placed a photo of my husband and I directly on top. This day-care was about to be my son’s new home every day, and the reality of that was hitting me hard. I soon hung up his jacket and properly aligned his comfy socks. I stepped back toward the front of the room and knew the time had come. I would have to say good-bye.
This is the kind of love only a mother would understand. It’s the kind of love you have for your own child that is irreplaceable and cannot be described in words. Leaving him at day-care for the first time was one of the most difficult things I ever experienced. I knew I had to let go, but every cell in my body was telling me otherwise. Eventually, I mustered up the courage and got out the words, “I love you sweetie. Mommy will be back real soon.” My heart was breaking. Nobody told me it was going to be this hard.
As I started to walk out the door, he cried. He cried harder and harder. His cries quickly turned to screams and before I could even turn around, the Director of the day-care grabbed my hand. “He’s going to be fine, Heather. It will just take some time. Don’t go back in there, it will only make it harder for the both of you.” My mind was racing and my hands were shaking. All I could think of was that my son wanted me, the only person he’s ever known to spend every waking hour, minute, and moment with. He needed me, my hugs and kisses, even my breath.
“Go. Now. Call us in a bit, please don’t worry,” she said.
“Heather, would you like some jellybeans?” she asked. “Or some candy? I have some in my desk.”
Jellybeans? Was she serious?