Parting with the Baby

Our little baby has grown up and what do you know, yesterday she turned 7 months. For each day that goes by, she’s cuter, funnier and more agile. She’s been crawling for a couple of weeks, feeble attempts here and there, but today was the day she chose to race towards my purse in no time. You should have seen her, so purposeful, so self-assured. This little missy has a mind of her own and I love that about her.

For many months now I couldn’t wait to go back to work. I found maternity leave rather boring, child rearing pretty exhausting, I struggled to find room for myself in this new role, I so wanted to be more than just a mom. Amidst this quest for validation, sleep deprived and on the verge of depression, I forgot I love this baby more than I love myself. And now that I’m starting work in less than a week, I’m kind of sad. Not that I suddenly started loving the endless weeks filled with coffee dates (if the weather allows it), trying to time everything so that she sleeps when she’s tired, walking the pram without entering any place so as not to wake her up, having her food ready the second she’s hungry, and so on. But I’ll miss her warm body onto mine on the couch, every time I pick her up from her bed after a nap, messy hair and flushed cheeks, her tiny hands looking for my moles to pick on. I’ll miss going to the coffee shop and seeing her stretch after my muffin, walking home and singing along with her, telling her daddy is on his way home while washing her cheeks after porridge. I sound like I’m leaving her for good- haha. You see, I had an epiphany yesterday- having turned 40 three weeks ago, I got a gift card for massage from a friend of mine and she offered to mind Madde for an hour, too. Easier said than done, you have to find a day that suits both of us, meet at a slightly precise time, feed the baby before and leave the baby with the friend. It’s strange that I have sometimes felt the urge to be on my own so bad I’ve gone to the toilet and locked the door (when daddy’s home to sit the baby), but when I had to part with her for an hour, I felt my heart cringe.

I enter the premises. No baby, no babbling, just silence. I take off my shoes and find a couch to sit on. Such bliss. Or is it? I wonder if the baby’s fine. The masseuse shows me in to a candle lit room, some background music on, she’s soft spoken when she tells me to remove everything except for my knickers. I’ve done this so many times, my muscular pain has forced me to take so many massage sessions it’s effaced all my natural prudishness. I climb on the heated bed and under a crisp sheet. I place my head on the pillow and try to decide if I should fall asleep or not. At this point there is no baby, just me. The masseuse is a professional, her touch is divine. I want to fall asleep, but the rubbing is so good I almost feel like crying. I’m also counting minutes. Do I still have 20 or 30 minutes? If I fall asleep right now, it would still count for something. Ten minutes before the session ends and I hear a baby crying. Is it Madde? My mother brain plays tricks on me.

I stretch my bones, I rub the oil into the skin, wash my hands and get a glass of water to drink. Then I go outside and look for the baby. Turns out she’d been crying a little, but now she’s asleep. We find a place and order some pasta and a beer to celebrate. Madde wakes up and the first thing she sees is me. I’m so happy to be reunited I feel like shedding a tear or two. She wants to eat my pasta, I give her small bites to try. This must be how it is for many of us, overwhelming, yet we couldn’t be without them. The tyrants. The babies. The love of our lives.

xxx, Alina

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