Today is Monday, January 10th. In exactly 171 and a half hours I will be returning to work full time. I have been on an extended vacation since June 25th of last year. A vacation that began in the glorious heat of summer and will end in the biting cold of winter. I could have spent my time traveling the world: eating, praying, and loving; sunning myself while sipping umbrella drinks in some exotic locale; learning a foreign language to use in my world travels; or simply laying on my couch enjoying the monotony of daytime television. But instead, I was lucky enough to spend my days with my five month old daughter, watching as she slowly became aware of the world around her.
In those five short months, she has done some pretty incredible things! (By little people standards I mean.) She has nearly tripled her birth weight, has learned to sit up and roll over, recognizes her name, and speaks in a foreign tongue that I would compare to the Vietnamese that my pedicurist uses when she is talking to her compadres in code. She loves music, taking baths, chewing on her blue Soothie, and monkeys of all kinds. She is one of the few children that does not like being in a car but that is another post. She wants very badly to walk and talk and I know that she will very soon proudly bear her first primary tooth.
I have enjoyed every (well almost every) moment that I have spent with her and suprisingly have become accustomed to being a stay-at-home mom (YIKES). But as I plan to return to the teaching profession, I am so worried that I am going to miss the next milestone that she masters by being away from her each day. Her first word (in English), her first crawl or belly walk, and those first wobbly steps toward independence. My husband is afraid that I am pushing her to grow up too fast because I have given her juice from a cup and am trying to teach her sign language, but as I sit here today I don't want her to get a day older without me being right beside her. I don't want to miss anything by being with other people's children all day.
Before I became a mother, I would jokingly tell people that I had 21 children. Children that I looked forward to seeing each morning; children that I was so proud learned to write in cursive and divide using 2 digit divisors. I loved hearing their stories and encouraged them to do their best every day and to make me proud. They made me laugh (and cry) and I missed them when we had extended breaks or when they graduated to the next grade. Often I felt that I spent more time with them than their hardworking parents and I was thankful that I was able to witness small milestones in their day that their moms and dads could not.
Now I am that parent who may miss out on something extraordinary. And it is breaking my heart...