I never knew if I would work or not when we had kids. Honestly, all my life I have gone back and forth on this. There were times in my life when I thought I would never work when I had a family and that I would do whatever it takes to stay at home 100%. Then, there were times when I was pretty sure that to be the best mom I could be, that I would work 100% of the time.
Then, I had a baby. And who cares what I used to think! Everything changed. I worked at the hospital 4 days a week when I had Dekker. I thought I owed it to my colleagues to at least try and go back. So I did. And after 3 months I was pretty sure that I didn't want to haul my newborn around four days out of the week, especially if we didn't need me to work that much.
About 6 weeks back to work I started taking Dekker to our friend's house on Tuesday's and Thursday's. I was "setting the stage" that if I did quit-- and let's be honest, I was pretty sure I was going to-- that I would already have stable daycare for a more part-time gig. And if I didn't, I was thrilled to have him in her home and not at the hospital daycare (though I missed my "lunch partner" on those days).
Here's to Leigh. We didn't know what to call you when we met you. Our "Daycare Lady?" Too formal. Our "Babysitter?" Too informal. Over the last year we have gladly settled on "Our Daycare Friend."
Here's to one of the only other women in Dekker's life that he will reach his hands up toward in a crowd. Here's to Leigh-- you filled a spot in my life that I didn't even know was vacant-- you have been an incredible "Mom Friend" to me. You have been someone to talk to about sleep and naps and poop and starting solids and weaning. You give my son baths (after you clean up things that shouldn't happen!). You rock him to sleep. You have watched him learn to roll over, crawl, walk, and run. You have comforted him when he was sick. You now know more about milk allergies than you ever wanted! You somehow found a pitch black area to nap him in! You have spent hours listening to me talk and comforting me while I cried-- this motherhood thing can be hard! Life can be hard! How many times did I drop Dekker off, then sit on your couch and borrow your ear while our kiddos played on the floor? You are a tremendous mom. But you are also a fantastic friend.
It feels like yesterday that our kids were this little!
Now, they are this big... and they are (kissing) friends!
Here's to your sweet girl. I laugh out loud remembering when she learned "eye" and nearly poked Dekker's eye out for a straight month. Sweet thing. She is so petite, so totally adorable. I love holding her because she feels like a pillow compared to the brute. I love that she says "Dekket?" I love, love, love dropping Dekker off in the nursery and watching them recognize each other. Here's to more play-times, fun weekends at the lake, loving on your new niece together. Here's to crashing random apartment pools next summer, too.
Here's to the new chapter in both our lives. You are going back to work as a nurse. You will get to take care of the families of so many people. Just like our family, theirs will be blessed by you. You are tender, caring, patient. You have never been my nurse but I just know that you are great. We cried when you told me. Here's to crying with your Daycare Friend! You are more than "daycare" to our family. My heart breaks thinking about sweet Dekker not starting his Tuesday's and Thursday's opening the cabinet under your TV and pulling out his favorite toys. There is something incredibly indescribable about watching another woman care for your child. You have done us well. And I am a hard critic!
Here's to our new daycare friend, Laura. Laura, you have big shoes to fill. But you are experienced. You are fun. You know Christ in your heart. When I prayed to God that somehow through our "childcare crisis" we would find a fit where we would be blessed, and be a blessing-- we found you and praised God for an answered prayer! We're looking forward to our playdate in a few weeks. Thanks for serving God, and opening up your family to ours.
I'm trying to keep it together. I'm trying not to awkwardly "count down" the days. I'm trying not to make a big deal out of "lasts". (Though today I talked to Leigh on the phone and she was charging up her video camera and camera in preparation for her final month with Dekker!) I am crying right now-- I cry every time I think about this. I'm not scaring Dekker forever, right? He'll transition alright, right? From one excellent home to another, for a grand total of 16 hours or less a week.
When I have daycare issues or a sick kid I always question if I should work. But I love my little job, my small caseload and the one credit hour I am teaching at Grace University (I spend more time driving there than I do teaching there :). Counseling is a joy, and a challenge. It is a ministry to hurting people! I have wrestled with this issue of working and boundaries and balancing work and family so much-- especially recently--, and at least for now, following His lead means driving my little car to my office two days a week.
Here's to the journey of motherhood. Here's to the women in my life who step in to care for the most precious treasure I have and in the process bless the socks off my family.
On the journey,