baby blues

it was this day 6 years ago that i first had to take my son to a babysitter and return to work. i remember it because it was painful! it was monday, november 5, 2001, and it has just never left my mind.

my son was merely 2 months old when i had to return to work. i couldn’t afford to take leave without pay, so i had to return once my doctor’s note was up. it was difficult. everyone i knew got to stay home with their baby at least 5-6 months. they got to spend the time bonding and watching their babies grow. i had to go back to work.

i was looking for a babysitter for a long, long time–even before i had given birth! i had called everyone on the patch list, but no one was taking infants. their “quota” for infants was already filled. i even went and got patch lists as far as pearl city and mililani (which is quite a drive from where i work and live!). no one had an opening for infants. i explained my dilemma to my colleagues, and they rallied and tried to find me someone, asking parents if they knew anyone who could watch my baby, so i could come back to work. one of my colleagues found a parent who said he’d watch him, but considering the history of this parent, i wasn’t too confident.

i only had one week left before i had to go back. my sister had a babysitter out in makaha when she worked at the high school, so she suggested i call her. that would be a bit of a drive out of my way, but it wasn’t as bad as going out to pearl city or mililani. so i called her and she agreed, once she found out who referred me. i went out on the friday before to meet her. my son slept the whole time we were there, but she was very gentle with him. on our way back home, i stopped by my workplace with a little “thank you” bag for my sub and confirmed to the office i was coming back on monday.

gosh, that was the fastest weekend ever! i tried to spend as much time with the baby. i felt soooo guilty that i was leaving him with a complete stranger. that shouldn’t happen! he should be with his mommy! or at least family… but all my family works. it was tough.

on monday we woke up early and i drove over to drop him off. he was sleeping, so there wasn’t much i could do, but hand him off in his carseat. as i backed out of the driveway, my eyes filled with tears. i just felt so much guilt! i was a bad mommy! it hurt so much to drive away and go to work.

work was a different story. the office people welcomed me back loudly, talking about how good i looked, which i know was just to make me feel better! i went to my classroom and started working. as the time drew nearer to the first bell ringing, i could hear the buzz outside the doors–is she back? she’s supposed to come back today right? did you see her?

after first bell rang, i opened the door to be met with cheers. my students, both former and current, came up to give me hugs and welcome me back. i felt so much love, but still, the pain lingered in my heart. i would’ve much rather been home with my baby. i was feeling like, why did i have a baby, just to hand him off for someone else to raise? those thoughts just filled my mind all day even though the kids showered me with love.

after school i rushed there as quickly as possible. he was fine. i even wondered if he realized i was even gone? probably not! i got him home and checked him out, apologizing to him for having to leave him alone. but he didn’t care. he just looked back at me and then started pawing to get a drink. *sigh* i was more cow than mom. i didn’t like that feeling at all.

the rest of the week was pretty much the same–i’d drop him off with tears, and left right after work to pick him up, only to be treated like a cow. but it’s what we had to do, so i had to get used to it fast! i had to keep telling myself that a lot of moms did this, and i wasn’t the only meanie one. but boy, did i sure feel that way.

it took me a while, and i did get used to it. though, heck, at times even today i still feel guilty! but this babysitter was just the greatest. she truly loved him. she took very good care of him. she always had him showered and well-fed and clean. if he was a slow walker, it’s because she never let him walk, she was always carrying him! she just really cared for him as if he was her own, and i know that i am so lucky to have found her to give him the love and caring he’s missing out from his own mother. there was a period when i was debating leaving, and she cried so much, i felt like i was cps taking away her child! it was bad. but she always willingly took him, and even called up on some weekends to take him out. she even drove him to preschool every day and picked him up early on wednesdays. she was really a gem! i am so grateful to have her in my life.

my son has started school and no longer gets to see her as often, but she still remembers things like his birthday. but he still has fond memories of his aunty’s house and will ask to go visit her on his days off. we’ll probably head over just before thanksgiving to drop off our annual donation of a ham, and visit for a while. i’ll just always have great appreciation for this lady to took over for me in raising my son to the loving, caring individual that he is now. mahalo nui!

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