So my boy began daycare again last week; this after a summer of much spoiling by grandmothers, aunts, and cousins. I worried how he’d readjust, especially since he was changing daycares and had finally gotten off the waitlist for what we’d deemed the daycare of all daycares. The “Mothership,” if you will.
That’s right folks; he was attending the “Fort Knox” baby university daycare where all the babies’ baby dreams came true (see my earlier post “A Tale of Two Daycares” https://derrickharriell.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/a-tale-of-two-daycares/): this daycare provides parents with special keycards for entry, large playgrounds separating different age groups, and…and…wait for it…a real pool with appointed lifeguards and swim teachers (not that I’d allow my two year old to swim without me, but the ambiance is pretty pimp. And for him to be able to say, well he can’t really talk now, but possibly in the future he’ll tell someone to “sit down. You don’t know nothing about ballin’. I had a pool in my daycare. I been ballin’ since I was a toddler.”).
What was ironic about this new daycare journey as opposed to the previous one is that the previous experience was only for a few weeks while I taught a summer course. I knew we’d get back to our regular schedule of him and I being home all day together once the summer session ended. And that’s how it was. I’d completed the summer session in late May and he and I proceeded with our house-raging behavior. I knew the next time would be different—it’d be forever. Once he began daycare this fall, he’d be going permanently. And once he became too old for daycare, he’d start one of those Pre-K things—he’d never be my house buddy again. And while this thought made me a bit somber, I can’t front, I counted down the days, hours, and tiny seconds that led us to last week: that led us to his new daycare adventure.
Life has a way of making you feel like shit for the things you want. I remember when I first started graduate school, and how often I’d imagine my life ten years down the road (you know the ten year question: “where do you see yourself in ten years”). And yes, I envisioned myself in a tenure track teaching position, and those days I wasn’t teaching I knew I’d be writing, working out, or golfing—what else was there to life (I don’t fish, I don’t do video games). While I knew I wanted children, somehow, my silly mind skipped the born part and everything else before the age of 6. In my head, I imagined kids, and poof, they were in school—and I was golfing and writing and shit.
Needless to say, I’ve been enthralled by the idea of waking up, brewing coffee, opening the blinds, and sitting in front of a blank word document. I’ve been in fits of desire for fits of silence. I’ve listened to people envy my blessing of a child and looked back at them and thought, “You get to write all day in silence.” Life has this tricky way of making you feel like shit for the things you want. Because the times I counted down my boy going to daycare, I’ve felt conflicted, and non-appreciative. I mean, how many parents really get the opportunity to be home with their kid for the first two years of their lives—I knew that was a blessing. And while even embracing this blessing and all the planet-shattering love I have for him, I still wanted to write– alone (without changing diapers between stanzas, feeding between grading, or playing between shaving).
So here I am—writing this blog in quiet while my boy is at his cool daycare. And the coffee is exactly where it needs to be, as is the noises outside, as are the poems in my head. And I don’t have to teach for another 5 hours which means who knows what might become of this day. And I was just thinking this morning about how we contradict ourselves. For example, I expressed earlier how much I worried about his adjustment. I was extremely concerned he’d cry all day and be miserable. As a parent, the thought of your child miserable makes your stomach sick. But ironically, each day I dropped him off and his mother picked him up, he was content. The reports from his teachers emphatically highlighted his joy being there. And so how did that make me feel, good? No, I felt blue that he didn’t cry out for me/us. Deep down I wanted him to throw a fit and say “get my daddy, now.” But apparently he didn’t. And I wondered if he needed us. I wondered if we gave him to another family, after a few weeks of adjusting, would he simply forget us/me. Would the first two years of his life and all the days we danced on Frat House Fridays dissipate?
Here I am writing this entry and it’s before noon and everything is as it should be. I do wonder what my boy is doing right now—if he’s wondering what I’m doing—if he knows I could always write perfectly fine with him right here next to me.