Friday, January 21, 2011

Something very obvious occurred to me...
Dustin and I are the strongest figures that Lily knows, emotionally.
This was a bit of a frightening realization to me and I'm a bit embarrassed as to why this thought even came to me.

I am an Mtv junkie. I watch all of the ridiculous reality shows, (because God knows they don't run anything to do with music anymore), one of which is Teen Mom. The title is self explanatory. It is an AWFUL train wreck of a show, exploiting young mothers to a teenage audience (except me) making motherhood look doable and at times almost easy. I hate the show with a fiery passion for those reasons because I truly believe that it may actually entice young, impressionable high schoolers to get knocked up because, "OMFG Y'all, I CAN BE ON MTV!!!!11", but, I'm feeding the monster by watching this garbage. Don't ask me why.

Anyway, there is a lovely young girl named Leah, I believe, who has twins on this show. In the last episode, one of her twins, at the age of 7 months, was taken to the doctor for a very obvious deformities in her legs and arms. (How on God's green earth this girl did not recognize these deformities before the age of 7 months is well beyond me.)

After the doctor's appointment, Leah and her babies' daddy sat on the bed of their pick up truck  and discusses the stress of what was happening. Leah, clearly distraught with worry, cried on babies' daddy's shoulder and babies daddy said, "You're the mom. You've got to be strong. We are the strongest people in her life. We're all she knows about strength". 

Spoken out of the mouths of babes. Seriously, a seventeen year old made those statements and I, a 34 year old woman, had a fucking revelation. I am Lily's strength. I (and Dustin) are all Lily knows as safety, security, normalcy, and comfort. I am her mom and she will always need me to be strong.

This is scary to me. I am not empowered by this. I am terrified. This is where my over analysis of things and "what if" thinking is a very big detriment. My over thinking goes into overdrive.

I know I can do this and I know I will do this and play this role....but what if there is a situation where I just can't be that strong? I mean, Jesus, I still need my parents for so much, how do I now become...them?? How did my parents make this part look so easy? Being someone's entire strength and support is a tall order. You would have thought that this would have occurred to me before conception. I'm a little slow, perhaps.

A day at a time and a lot of deep breathing.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I have a school drop out.
I will eventually post about our adventures in child care issues, but for now, all I can discuss is the look on my poor baby's face when I picked her up after only an hour of "school".

This is one of the billion issues that I never understood pre-baby: dropping your kid off at school. "What's the big deal?", I used to think. "The kid NEEDS socialization!", I would rationalize.

Well, yes, they do need socialization and perhaps in the grand scheme of life it truly isn't a big deal to drop your child off for the first time, but for Lily, the world seemed to come to a complete halt on Thursday January 6, 2011.

Backing up a bit...
We have a wonderful program called "Mom's Morning Out" at one of the local Methodist churches. Virtually all of my friends that live locally have had some experience with this program, or the daycare at this church. Highly recommended.

So, last month Lily and I went and observed one Thursday to see what it was all about. It could not have been a better scenario: brightly lit room, filled with age appropriate toys and bright colors, a teacher/student ratio of 2/2, snacks, and lots of smiling faces. They were even making a craft to celebrate Christmas that appropriately stated, "Happy Birthday Jesus" on them. It was like the room was puking rainbows and sunshine.

After about 20-30 minutes of observing, we left there and I was thinking, "I can totally do this. Dropping her off here will be a breeze. She won't even miss me with this kind of attention."; basically all good thoughts. Plus, it's only for 4 hours, a far cry from the 8 that daycare would be, (had there been a spot available for Lily, which was our original intention).

January 6th would be here start date, I was told. I was a bit anxious the night beforehand, more so than I ever anticipated feeling, but I was also feeling confident.  

I can do this. 
Lily can do this. 
We have to do this for socialization!

My mantras were helping my anxiety.
That next morning I packed her a lunch, a diaper bag, made myself some coffee and off we went.
Things started out great. We were the first ones there and Miss Dorothy and Miss Diana engaged Lily right away. I slipped out, whispering, "Bye, Lils. I'll be back soon", completely unnoticed.
I shed a couple tears as I drove away. This was a milestone for us, being that only family has cared for her these past 20 months. She was becoming a big girl and I no longer has this tiny little baby depending on me for every little thing. I reminisced for a few minutes until the ring of my cell phone snapped me out of it, which happened to be work related. "Perfect", I thought. THIS is why Lily is in the program, so I can get some work done.
I get situated at my desk after arriving home. After about 30 minutes I receive a text from my friend Leslie that works in the daycare portion of the church. She had checked on Lily for me. Here was our exchange:

Leslie: I just checked on Lily. She's sitting with her blanket :)
Me: Awww, thank you! Is she sad?? (Bells went off in my head because Lily typically does not just sit with her blanket)
Leslie: Truthfully, yes. You can tell she's been crying, but it's normal. She wasn't crying when I saw her though, which is very good for someone who has never been in school before.

Ugh. She's upset. She's sad. I felt terrible. I should have never asked if Lily was sad. My mother's guilt was in overdrive and I could barely focus on anything other than the thought of Lily sitting, rubbing her blanket, wondering where mommy is.

20 minutes later, my phone rings and it was Miss Dorothy..."Vanessa, you may want to come and get Lily. She's not doing terribly, but she has been crying most of the time. It just isn't worth her being this upset if you can come and get her".


I pull into the parking lot and all I can see is my sweet little redhead's swollen, blotchy face in the window, as she was being held by Miss Dorothy, sobbing. It was that type of hyperventilating sobbing where she couldn't catch her breath.


We gathered her things and I apologized over and over, as the ladies told me how normal this was, begging me to try again next week. Lily never clung to me so tight or looked so sad, yet so relieved to see me.

So starts the "letting go"...for both of us. As traumatizing as it was her for her, it was equally traumatizing for me, all said and done. BUT, how amazing that she will not remember it.

And, we will try again next week. This shall prove to be quite a transition, I'm sure.