Letter to Camille: A Hard Week

Hello sweet Cams. I just tucked you into bed, though from the sounds coming from the monitor I don’t think you’re asleep yet. It appears you have the hiccups and they’re keeping you awake. You’ll probably be snoozing soon though.
Cami, this is a very hard week for your mom. Wednesday, I have to go back to work. That’s why I cried all over you earlier today, and I’ll probably do it again tomorrow. I’m finding it hard to explain how I feel. I feel like something really special is almost over. I keep telling myself all this anguish is silly because I’ll still see you every morning, many days at lunch, and evenings and weekends. But today when I walked over to your pack-n-play to give you a kiss while you hung out watching your mobile, I reminded myself again that I won’t be able to do that while I’m at work. I won’t be able to just scoop you up and play with you any old time. I completely lost it when I did the math and realized you’ll spend more waking hours away from me than with me – then I reminded myself to factor in your naps, and I felt a little better.
I am terrified that when I go back to work you will feel abandoned. Since your birth, I’ve only been away from you for a couple of hours at a time. Suddenly, I’ll be gone for a big chunk of the day nearly every day. There’s no way for me to explain to you that I still love you just as much and you’re every bit as important to me as always. But at the same time, there’s another part of me that’s afraid you won’t miss me after all. I feel guilty for going back to work, but I do enjoy my job and I know I’ll also feel a little guilty for liking it at times too. I don’t know if I’d want to be a stay-at-home mom forever, but I’m not ready to leave you yet. I’m also afraid I won’t be as good at my job because I’ll be thinking about you and rushing home at 5:00 instead of staying late to finish a project. But most of all, I want to be good at my most important job – being your mom.
So as you can see, my sweet girl, I’m a mixed up mess. I know everything will be okay. I know you’ll do just fine and I’ll eventually get used to our new routine. But I’ve so enjoyed getting to nibble on your toes whenever I please, and I’m going to miss that.
You’re the baby – the tiny, totally dependent baby who couldn’t survive without love and care. But I feel like I’m the one clinging to the umbilical cord. I’m the one who will be gasping for breath when it’s cut. Yes, you need me, but I need to be near you too.
I find great comfort in 2 things. Although we’ll have to be apart during the day, you’ll be with your Daddy. I am so proud of your Daddy for wanting to take care of you. It won’t be easy as he tries to run his own business and be a stay-at-home Daddy, but I don’t doubt for one second that he’ll do a great job. One day, you’ll have to go to daycare, and that’s okay. It’ll be good for you to socialize with other children. But at least for now, while you’re still so little, you get to spend your days in your house with a Daddy who loves you so much. Whether it works for a few months or a year, I think it’ll be time well spent as you bond with your dad. This makes me quite the lucky mama.
Earlier today, you were hanging out with him at his computer, and you sent me this email:
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Your Daddy says you typed it with your feet. Your Daddy is funny. What would I do without him?
The other thing that brings me comfort is knowing that other mothers – women I believe to be terrific mothers – have returned to work and still have wonderful children and strong bonds. I’m not the first mom to feel this way, and I won’t be the last.
I’m trying to enjoy our last days together before I go back to work, and I am. Today we played, and you slept for a while in my arms, and I got loads of smiles. Tomorrow, I hope for more of the same. Then Wednesday, I’ll have to go to work, but I’ll have my arms full of picture frames with photos of your adorable face inside. That’ll make my office a whole lote nicer.
I love you sweet Camibear.