To be completely and totally honest, I have been in quite a turmoil over the last week. Each August, I sink into a mini-depression. I say this not to make light of depression because I know many people struggle with it. But I know it's coming, and I know why, and I try to brace myself for it. No matter how hard I try to insulate myself, I still get very upset when I think of having to leave my kids and start working again. Summer is such a magical time for us; like the eye of a hurricane, actually. We get to do whatever we want, whenever we want, and go wherever we want. It's uncluttered, peaceful, and happy. Then, suddenly, it is as if we are thrown right into the storm part, we have to deal with routines, homework, childcare, transportation, procedures, making sure everyone gets enough sleep, scheduling EVERYTHING. It's like a balancing act, and I always feel we are on the verge of collapsing if I don't hold it together. And everyone around us still has the same expectations. The weekends during the school year, I feel, are mine. I don't want to be obligated to go to functions and share my kids with anyone, but then, everyone feels like they should get a part of us too. It's hard to manage.
When Spencer started elementary school, it was a little easier, after I got used to the idea that I no longer had the freedom to just do what I wanted because he was in school and needed to be there. That meant on my days off, he might still have school, and I wouldn't be with him like I used to. That was difficult to navigate. Slade loves his teachers and he has friends at school. He likes routine and has always done well. I am sure when he goes to kindergarten it will be the same kind of adjustment I experienced with Spencer. Right now, though, he is still very much a little boy.
Now, I have sweet Scarlet, and while I thought 6 months was a long time; it's really not. It has gone by so quickly, and I am not ready. So not ready. Last week, we visited the daycare three times. I think it would be really unfair of me to send my little kids there with no previous exposure. I do my best to take everything they need, meet and know the caregivers, ask all the questions I need to, fill out all my forms, etc. BEFORE the first week they are supposed to attend. Stefan, ever positive, repeats the mantra, "They will be okay. We have done this before." But it doesn't help. It doesn't help at all. In that place where my heart meets my stomach, I feel sick, like someone is just twisting the knife in. I have shed countless tears, and I know that many people have it much rougher than I. But I am not them, and I don't live their life, and this is my reality, and I am really struggling this time in a way that I don't think I can accurately convey and that most people don't understand. For sure, there is the guilt; always the guilt. But then, I feel like I have cheated my daughter and myself. My boys never had to go to daycare until they were 2 and 1, respectively. They stayed at home, slept in their own bed until they wanted to get up, had a set schedule, took good naps. Granted, they weren't with me, but they were with people who loved them. Now, I have this beautiful 6-month old little girl, and I have to let someone else hold her, and feed her, change her, calm her down, see her instant smile when standing over her. It's too much to bear, really, and I feel miserable, unsettled, and generally distraught. Plus, I don't really LOVE my job. It's okay, the people are average, it's a paycheck, the schedule is better than a 9-5, but it's a lot of stress, too, and some of what I do seems pointless at times. So, I don't know if I am just miserable or if it's because I shouldn't be leaving her at that specific place, but nothing better has turned up, there is only a week to go, and my unending prayer is that the Lord will take this situation and make it at least okay. I know she won't remember it, but I will. Everyday I will.