There are some definite moments, days, events in my life where I can see - nothing was the same after it. Some are the usual - first days of school, school graduations, first day at a new job, wedding, kids. Some I don't see as turning points until much later - a run of the mill decision that ends up being life-altering (accepting a sub job, saying "yes" to a date, etc.). This Wednesday is another one of those days, and one that I thought I was going to take in stride but am getting emotional about already. Simultaneously I return to a "regular" day of work, Charlie begins "regular" daycare schedule, and Roman has his first day of kindergarten.
I have felt like I've been living a special kind of life for the last 8 months. True, it hasn't all been wonderful... having a baby in the NICU and being a SAHM of 2 for 4 months (which was not the original plan) has been trying some days. But it was like a vacation from real life. I didn't have outside responsibilities except raising my kids and cooking dinner, and cleaning the house every once in awhile. I could come & go as I pleased, any time of day. There was no paperwork except for doctors' offices. There were no deadlines, no planning of anything. I just... was.
I feel like I'm being forced to emerge from the little time-cocoon & join the world again. In some ways I'm happy - I do enjoy work, I like the mind stimulation, I like the subject I teach, I like interacting with the kids. I love spending time with a lot of my colleagues. But boy, am I going to miss my kids. I haven't spent this much uninterrupted time with Roman since the first summer he came home. Even summers after that, he went to daycare 1-2x a week so I could have a break. I have grown to really enjoy his thoughts & conversations. And Charlie... the joy I get from him energizes me like nothing else.
So a huge step on Wednesday. I will not ever be taking another maternity leave; unless I quit work, I will never have this much time off again until I retire. Charlie's life as he knows it will be forever changed - he will be in daycare at least a third of his day from here on out (during the school year). And Roman! He begins his own life-changing journey when he steps through those school doors on Wednesday morning. Life will appear to continue much as it does now, but it will be one of those days that I can point to & say, "everything was different after that."