Thursday, August 16, 2007

This freedom I don't want. Yet.

I was nervous. This was the first time I was leaving Moppet alone with her nanny in the evening. It was just for a few hours, and I was only going to a neighbour's house, but I was still worried. Moppet's Papa was travelling, so I was going by myself.

Nanny has been with us for over 6 months, and knows Moppet's routine inside out, but that didn't stop me from repeating my instructions to her a dozen times over. I left all phone numbers - mine, the neighbour's landline, cell, and intercom - written on a postit and stuck on the phone.

Let her watch Barney if she wants, I said. If she doesn't sleep by 9, call me. If she cries for me, call me. If she doesn't drink her milk, call me. I'm in the next building. I can be back in 2 minutes.

At the party, I made my apologies in advance almost as soon as I walked in the door. It's the first time I've left Moppet with her nanny at night, I explained. She doesn't sleep without me, so I'll probably get called back around 9.00 pm. I hope that's ok.

Of course, my gracious hosts assured me. But don't worry about it, she'll be fine.

All through the evening, I waited for the call, sneaking looks at my phone, checking to make sure it was working, the network signal strong, and the ringer volume on max.

8.30...9.00...9.15...9.25... No call.

Finally at around 9.30, I cracked. I withdrew to the balcony and called home expecting to hear chaos in the background, only to be cheerfully informed by Nanny that Moppet had watched Barney, drunk her milk and gone to sleep by 9 without even asking for me.

Oh.

I returned to the living room, telling myself that I could finally relax and enjoy the party, but despite the excellent company and delicious food, my heart just wasn't in it.

At around 11 pm, as I was leaving, my host asked about Moppet - was she doing ok? More than ok, I said, a touch ruefully. She didn't ask for me at all.

A father of 2 strapping teens himself, he nodded in understanding. None of us is as indispensable as we think we are, he said. And then, seeing the expression on my face, he added kindly- that's not such a bad thing, you know.

Probably not. But when I got back home, I sat by my baby's bed for a long time watching her sleep, bathed in the pale blue light of the night. Watching this little being, so long a part of me, now her own person, separate, unique. Watching, my head trying to comprehend how my heart could feel so fiercely proud and intensely sad at the same time.

This freedom I don't want. Yet.

I got in and lay down next to her, pulling her warm little body close. She stirred and murmered something I couldn't quite catch, then turned and snuggled into me.

Sshh sshh, I whispered. Mama's here, baby.

Mama's here.

29 comments:

karmickids said...

Awwww. I know the feeling. We make ourselves indispensible. They dont really need us, we need them. Also, your moppet is growing up now. Which makes your job hunt less scary...

noon said...

MM - I completely identify with how you feel...I went to an art festival when I was pregnant with my son and there was one booth with an old man who was a doctor turned photographer after his retirement - he told me "Enjoy every minute with your child, they grow up so fast. I can't believe my daughter is 40 now!" I could see even though she was 40 to him she was still his baby...
Letting go is so hard to do!

rbdans said...

You remind me of the first day I left D in day care. I left her for 2 hours and told the care taker few hundred times to call me the minute she would fuss. I get a call from the care taker about an hour later only to hear that D did not once mention my name and is happily playing as though she has been part of the day care for days!
Just as you write, I felt so fiercely proud and intensely sad at the same time.
The last para touched a chord. Lucky moppett, lucky mommy :)

Just Like That said...

Ah, Moppet's Mom, its a difficult world.
I'm so glad Sonny boy has coped thru me leaving, and then thru Muruga leaving, and adjusted to Muniyamma. And yet, I'm so sad that he has had to do all of it.

Yow will be glad for Moppet's survivor/coper instincts once you decide to start working. One tug will be less on your heartstrings for the knowledge that through lots of things, Moppet will cope.

Right now Sonny boy dotes on his Ammamma, but soon she will leave, and Sonny boy will HAVE to cope again... :-(

Gauri said...

Ditto that !! And I do so echo your feelings. Post coming up on my blog too in a while.

Collection Of Stars said...

Dilemma - on one hand, we want them to be independent and on the other hand, we want them to need us for ever. Like, I have mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I am not sure if KT needs me more or I need her more. When I leave for work in the mornings, at times, she cries and I feel bad. At times, like today, she happily says bye and I again feel bad.

Poppins said...

I think COS hit the nail on the head. We need them more than they need us. Although, poppin these days has started vocally missing me/DH.

AmmaForever said...

very beautifully writen. simply put but drenched with your emotions.

although i'm not there yet, i'm already bracing myself for a similar episode.

Sue said...

That's why I decided a few months ago that I need to start getting my own life back together once more and soon at that.

I don't want to cling to my child when he is ready to leave, but if I have nothing else to hold on to, I'm scared I wouldn't be able to let him go either.

Moppet's Mom said...

Kiran: True, it helps now that I know she can manage without me - it's just that some part of me didn't quite want to believe that.

Noon: So hard! I'm coming to realise just how strong my own parents were about letting me go.

Rbdans: Yes, it's a strange mix of emotions...

JLT: You're right. Overall, I think I'm happier knowing that she can cope... although reaching that conclusion caused me quite a bit of pain along the way!

Gauri: Coming over to check it out!

CoS: That's exactly it. Although, for me I think the emotion was so intense because it was the first time.

Poppins: Yeah, you'd think it would get better when they're able to verbalise their emotions, but I wonder....

Ammaforever: Thank you. It really wasn't any sort of extraordinary moment, but I was surprised by the intensity of the emotion. I think that's reflected in the post....

Sue: You know, I had thought I would be able to let go when the time came - and it's not like she's going off to college or anything - but I was quite taken aback by how keenly I felt a certain sense of loss that night. And for such a small thing, really.

Suki said...

:hugs:

She may grow up and grow independent, but remember this - she'll always love hearing you tell her that "Mamma's here". Somehow it can always make things that little bit better. :)

Kodi's Mom said...

awww M's M! this is a classic case of the kid growing up before the mom. I am thinking that the most she could take was a break from you(!) but not separation for longer periods of time. you know what else this means? she is confident and secure - and she must have known on some level that Mamma will be back. that is a lot for her age! so, be proud of her, gal!

Smitha said...

A beautiful moment...ohh so moved!
:-)

DotMom said...

awwww. I remember how envious I was when Chip favored his nanny over me some days. But its great she is turning into an independent little girl. growing up is always bittersweet!

Daisy said...

that is soo touuching Moppet's mom:) hugs to you

anja said...

moppets mama you brought a tear to my eye, your words are so moving...little moppet, i was right there in the pale blue light. I feel so bad and selfish after I wrote post whining about how I couldn't sleep coz of thumki..sigh becoming a mother is a job you can never be prepared for the powerful emotions, the dilemmas, the lack of sleep making one delirious..in my case..etc. Hope moppet and you had a fun morning..=)

Mystic Margarita said...

I left Popol with my Ma to go back to work when he was 3 months old. I missed him so much that first day, I went and cried in the rest room - so I can realize how you must have felt. I worked from home a couple of weeks after Ma left, then came my MIL - I went back to work part-time (I couldn't bear to be away all 5 days) leaving baby with MIL and nanny. But that's only because MIL was there to supervise and keep an eye on Popol all the time. Now it's almost time for MIL to leave, and I have decided to quit/freelance as I will not be able to leave my baby unsupervised with someone who's not part of the family. It's too early to let go just yet - one has to when they grow up anyway...

Moppet's Mom said...

Suki: You are wise beyond your years!

Kodi's Mom: Oh yes, I'm very proud of her!

Smitha: Yes, it was a strangely intense moment. Unexpectedly so.

Dotmom: I know... but I do wish she would go easy on the growing up. What's the big rush? :-)

Daisy: Thank you :-)

Anja: Whining about lack of sleep is a privilege of parenthood that you should never feel guilty about! ;-) And yes, we did have a fun morning, thank you.

Mystic: True. Good luck with the freelancing, and enjoy your time home with Popol.

Tharini said...

Wow. Came by here after a few days and this seemed like such a huge leap. Even for me as a reader. Bigger for you as her mom. I was so there with you as you waited impatiently for that call to come. And mixed in with everything else, this is still a nice thing.

SUR NOTES said...

i will say what many before me have said.....awwwwwwww...and i wipe a teeny tiny tear...when sanah speaks in loooong sentences i realise that soon i wont need to mediate her language between her qand the world. she will have her own equation with the world very very soon.

the mad momma said...

aww... well i know what a punch in the gut it is. i almost smacked my son for going to school looking happier than i was!

choxbox said...

beautifully put moppets mom.

i felt something similar when kid1 started school - she walked in and didnt even turn back to look at me.

kid2 easily goes off with folks she knows and i somehow dont feel thaaat bad!

Renie said...

Hi, please add your blog to our new directory of Indian Blogs and pick up an Indian Independence badge, thanks!

http://www.indiblogger.in

Sue said...

But you see, it's not a small thing at all. :)

You're allowed to feel sad when they run away to college or prefer holidays with friends over family -- but it's not legit to feel bad because they spent the morning with their grandparents and didn't once cry for you.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

Cantaloupe has been going to the day care since she was 6 months ... and I'd be sad, if she cried at the day care ... but then again, I'd be sad (may be sadder, if there is such a word) if she didn't cry :(

Squiggles Mom said...

Similar story this weekend... will post about it in a bit.

Random Vignettes said...

awww... though I think she slept better after hearing "mamma's here"

anja said...

hey mm, thanks for stopping by..that's exactly what we are thinking of..a matress of her own next to our bed. I think her own room will come closer to two..i think..who knows? i already made a mural in there, it was done before she came, i finsihed it the day I went into labor infact..that was supposed be one of many things, but since she's come i have done NOTHING in there..I have some great ideas but NO time..sigh. I know what you mean about having no use for the bedroom besides sleeping..haha on the weekend when dh tried to be romantic thumki yelled, 'AYE!' so it was a no go ofcourse!=)

Sunshine's Mumma said...

Awww I just read this!! a big step forward.. but I know you arent ready just yet..I dont think we moms ever will be :)
So beautifully written.