Thursday Morning Wood

Posted by jdg | Wednesday, September 13, 2006 |

For the last month, I was so overwhelmed with loading all of our crap into boxes, driving across the country and filling our car with crumbs and discarded toys, and then unpacking all of our now smooshed crap, that I had avoided devoting a single thought to what it would be like to start my new job and leave Juniper for the first time in 8 months.

On Saturday, my dad and stepmom drove in from Pittsburgh, and once again, I was too busy enjoying their visit to spend much time mentally preparing to go back to work. Luckily, I managed to remember that I needed to buy a new suit, and so all five of us made a pilgrimage to the suburbs to the mega mall in Troy. I raced around the mall in search of a conservative, affordable suit, and when I finally found one, my dad pulled out his camera and snapped a picture of me. In it I look horrified because I was: as if it wasn't enough to bring a toddler into the dressing room, now my dad was taking flash pictures in the middle of the store. I quickly purchased the suit and fled for the door.

By Sunday evening at 11:00 p.m., when I finally got around to frantically searching for a shirt to wear under my new suit that was both unwrinkled and high-necked enough to cover my tattoo, all of the stress that I hadn't had time to deal with came crashing down on my head, and suddenly I couldn't understand why, at that precise moment, Dutch wasn't standing right next to me, holding me and telling me that it was going to be okay, because, after all these years, shouldn't he just know when I need him? In one deft maneuver, I transferred all of my anxiety into anger and directed it at Dutch, exploding at him when he finally came upstairs to see how I was doing. Dutch responded by telling me that it was time to go to sleep already, and that everything would be fine. I went to bed vaguely angry and nervous and woke up during the night at least once an hour.

The next morning I was so busy making coffee, getting dressed, and saying goodbye to my parents that it wasn't until I arrived at work that I realized that leaving Juniper had been no big deal. Over a year ago, when I left Juniper at daycare for the first time after my maternity leave, I had to sprint down the hallway out of her building so that her daycare provider wouldn't hear how loudly I was sobbing. I called my mom as I drove to work that day, and she insisted that I pull my car over until I could stop crying because she was sure I couldn't see the road through my tears. But yesterday was nothing like this. Yesterday, my eyes didn't even well up.

As I settled into my new desk and basked in the glow of an internet connection, I felt guilty. Shouldn't it have been harder to leave her? What happened to my tears? I was back at work and it felt wonderful, not bad at all. And then I realized why I hadn't felt the slightest lump in my throat: she was with her father, duh. He never cried when he ran off to catch his bus in San Francisco, because then she was with me. Now she's with him, and it feels great. I can check flickr during lunch to see what they've been up to. Yesterday I found this:

Dutch remembered to bring the sippy cup with him, so clearly he's doing a great job.