Torre started daycare last week, and I’ve been kind of a mess about it. In so many ways it has been a solution we needed because our families are not near enough to help, and our paycheques do not stretch to cover babysitters (although we have been blessed with gracious friends who let us grossly underpay them!), and I have been back and forth between finding myself and losing myself in the daily rhythms of outings to the park and a peanut butter sandwich for lunch before nap and waiting-for-daddy-to-come-home.

Writing this out makes my eyes well up because it touches so close to the very tender place of how deeply I love my son as well as to the brittle-as-glass fear that I am not enough as a parent. Starting daycare has been hard because of the gut-wrenching goodbyes, the ache of missing him through the day that is different from when I’d go to work and Matt took care of him. It has been hard because of the relief that is nestled like a peach pit in a big ball of guilt. I can run errands or see friends or paint my nails without timing it around his naps and without wondering what he’s gotten into that is keeping him so quiet in the other room.

When I picked him up from daycare today, they were outside and we ran toward each other like it was a movie and I was returning from war. I scooped him up and spun around, and the joy of reuniting almost convinced me that this is okay – missing each other all day and having only an hour or two before bedtime to snuggle and read books and watch firetrucks on youtube.

The flip side of the coin is that daycare is a wonderful opportunity for our family. None of our friends with kids live close enough to get together regularly, and connecting with other families in our neighbourhood has been hit-or-miss. It’s hard to build relationships in this stage of life that so often feels like survival mode, and the challenge of holding a conversation while supervising toddlers has pretty much eluded me. Daycare means that Torre gets to regularly spend time with other kids, and he is supervised by people who are trained at working with kids, and they feed him good food and never bribe him with TV so they can just veg on facebook for 40 minutes because it’s that kind of day. These people let him play with play-doh and paint and glue feathers to a paper duck and collect leaves in a field (although that last one is something I’d be up for). I think this is good for him even without considering the benefits of Matt having a chance at work/life balance and me earning a bit more money.

This is my prayer:

Merciful father in heaven, will you take this burden from me? Will you assure me that no failure of mine can overwhelm your all-sufficiency? Please correct me where I’m sinful; heal me where I’m broken; bear with me where I am weak. And please take care of Torre – he is a gift from you that is too precious to bear the thought of messing up on. He is fiercely and deeply, viscerally mine, but I also know that he is Yours.

I am overwhelmed that you would give your Son to reconcile us back to you, that your love made a way and makes a way. Thank you for love that is stronger than death.

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Susan 07-10-2014, 01:11

Lori and I were just talking about this today. Times like this really do a number on a parent’s heart… and as it turns out, on a grand-parent’s heart too! Like you, I’m glad that God is big enough, strong enough, and faithful enough when we are uncertain. And like you said, so many cool opportunities for him! <3 <3 <3

alyssa 07-10-2014, 13:29

And I thought my biggest parenting challenge would be if I ever needed to defend my child from bees! 🙁
(still hoping that day never comes though)

Rebecca 07-10-2014, 11:40

I remember the first time I put Eli in daycare. It was especially hard because when we did his orientation his teacher was sick and not able to meet with us. Then because we were sending him on a daycare bus to the daycare we didn’t get to see his teachers each day. I remember being so nervous because I hadn’t had a chance to really get to meet them. The second time he was in daycare was equally as hard because even though he was now at the same site as me, if he saw me during the day he got really upset and didn’t understand why he couldn’t be with me. So, I had to avoid being anywhere within view of him (even though he was just in the next room over).

alyssa 07-10-2014, 13:31

So nice to see your comment, Rebecca! Ooh I would have such a hard time putting Torre on a bus and not seeing his teachers every day. I really value being able to check in with them and hear how his day went.


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