Peter and I went out last night with two other couples to a great dinner. It was our first date night since Ellie's birth, and it was nice to dress up and wear clothing that didn't require immediate access to my chest. I felt like a real mom, applying Chanel lipstick (my mom wears Chanel no 5, so it seems that mothers must have one Chanel accessory when dressing up) while my girl watched me get ready. Although I pretended to be brave and strong, I desperately missed my girl while we were out. We left around 6:15 and came home at 9:30 (three hours, not such a long time at all). My mom reported she went to sleep around 7:30 or so, so while she really only spent an hour or so without me, this morning she's looking at me a little side-eyed. I think she's thinking, "where'd you go mom?" And while she usually opens up the day with a flood of smiles, this morning there have been exactly zero. Are you mad at me baby girl?? She even put herself to sleep for a nap - while kicking and talking on the couch, the next thing I see is a sleeping baby. Cute, but a little sad. Also, she slept last night for the first night unswaddled, so we've turned the corner there. She looked like such a big girl sleeping with her arms stretched out above her head. My girl is growing up and things are changing.
(I'm smart enough to know she's not actually mad and no real damage has been done. But still... no smiles for her mama? Ouch, that hurts a little bit.)
Truthfully though, I used last night as a primer for the real deal. I go back to work just over a week from now. I can say that honestly and without a doubt, the last 13 weeks and 5 days have been the best days of my life. I went to the dentist this week and the staff asked, as I'm sure they always do, "did you have a good summer?" I'm able to say definitively that I've had the best summer of my life. While the rest of Seattle bitches about the lack of sunshine, I've felt none of that. My days have been filled with the brightest sunshine you can possibly imagine. I wonder if the days in heaven are sunnier that this.
Going back to work feels like the dreaded first day of school times a thousand. It's been looming over me like a dark cloud, threatening to rain on my parade for weeks. I've even pushed back my start date as I couldn't bear to leave her. While I still can't, I must, and to have the strength to do so I have to act braver and stronger than I've ever been before in life. I know without a doubt she will be just fine. I only hope that when the weekends come she will bring her smile back to our party. I'm not going to wallow or allow myself to have too many moments of sadness with this transition, but will continue to look for sunny skies and rainbows. They will come, as the always do!