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A Letter to my Child on Returning to Work

My Dearest Holland —
I return to work tomorrow. Before you were born, I told everyone that I would long for this day. I was convinced that I could never stay home with you full time. I know now child that I was so naive. 
I wasn’t prepared for how much I would love you… especially how much I would love caring for you.
I’ll admit — that first month was rough. I cried often. More than once I wondered how your father and I could have made such a mistake. Why did we want to be parents again? We weren’t cut out for this life! But with time, my reservations faded and my love for you grew. Now, I cannot imagine not waking up and caring for you all day. I know, of course, that you will be in good hands. For the next three months, your great-grandparents will care for you and I know they are more than capable of making sure that you are okay. 
But I wonder if they will ever know what each of your cries mean…
I wonder if they will rock you just like I do…
I wonder if you will wake up from a nap and be scared that I’m not here…
I wonder if they will know which toys you grow tired of quickly and which ones you love…
I wonder, probably more than anything, if you will miss me. 
A part of me wants you to miss me. I am your mother. I want you to know me and to miss me when I’m gone. Then again, the thought of you being in any kind of distress absolutely breaks my heart. It shatters. So perhaps I don’t want you to miss me. 
I used to think I’d be dying to return to work. Now, I’m dying at the thought that I have to. But alas, financially, staying with you full time isn’t an option. I do want to show you that a woman can work and raise a family. I think that’s an important lesson to impart. And I do still want “me” time away from you. But I also want “Holland” time. There doesn’t appear to be enough hours in the day to have everything I want so I just want to chose you and forget the rest.
But that’s not how life works. We have bills to pay and unless we win the Powerball (which I’m diligently playing by the way) I don’t foresee being able to quit my job to stay with you anytime soon.  So tomorrow morning, I will wake up, get a shower, kiss your sweet face a million times, and probably sob as I drive to the office. Every three hours, I will shut my office door and pump. I’ll probably cry then too — wishing that instead of the cold pump, I had your tiny, warm body held close to my skin. As soon as possible, I will rush home to you and hold you tight. You may not have even noticed that I was gone but I assure you that I will have counted every minute of our separation. 
Each day, mothers leave their children to go to work. Tomorrow, I join that club. It will be hard. I know it will. But we will both be okay. 
We will both be okay. 
I love you.

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