After last Thursday's rough day, I realized that it's really important for me to get out of the house at least once a day, even if it's just for a walk to the park about two blocks from our house -- especially if it's a day where Brett won't be home in the evening. Plus, Elanor sleeps much better if I'm out and about than if I am wearing her in the Moby at home. I don't know what it is, but she seems to sense when we are home and is more awake during those times. Maybe she goes to sleep when we are out somewhere as a response to all of the stimulus. I don't know.
Anyway, after a pretty wakeful night last night, (she was up to eat at 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, 6:30 and 7:30, and then up for the day at 8:30), I decided it would definitely do me good to get out of the house, so this morning I walked up to the coffee shop about eight blocks from our house. It was raining, but I didn't care. I just threw on a hood and put a hat on Elanor -- this is Seattle, after all, she needs to get used to being out in the rain. :p But really, it was nice to just be outside, and then nice to spend a couple of hours somewhere other than here.
I got a latte and a bagel and settled in to do some reading, both from An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard, which was recommended to me by my friend Leah, and from the Bible and the How People Change workbook, which is the study our community group is currently using.
Gillian Welch was on the stereo, the coffee shop was warm and the windows mostly steamed over with the rain hitting them, Elanor was asleep against my chest in the Moby Wrap...and as I sat there listening to Revelator, drinking my latte, watching the wind blow the rain against the windows and blow the trees around outside, reading my books, periodically bending down to kiss Elanor's milky-smelling cheek or snuggle her head, I realized there was nothing I wanted more than to be able to do that every day.
Now that I've passed the mid-point of my maternity leave, each day like this is a little bittersweet, because while I love spending all day with Elanor, I know that in about a month, I'll have to go back to work and will be away from her for roughly 11 hours every day. It's going to be so very difficult. I'm trying not to think about it and focus on the positive instead, that we have family and close friends to watch her until September, at which point I really hope I can be home with her more.
While I was sitting in Caffe Fiore this morning, I couldn't help but think that this wonderfulness of being home with her, of being able to wear her all day, of being able to bend my head a few inches and kiss her head, of being able to see her smile, of being able to smell her baby smell whenever I want -- it is such a luxury! And it is all too quickly approaching its end, a thought that made me really sad.
I guess I should just appreciate each day that I'm home (and I do) and not think about being back at work, at least for now. I knew it would be like this when I got pregnant, that I wouldn't be able to stay home with her full-time, but I don't think I knew the reality of how hard it would be to actually go back to work after getting to be home for three months. And, of course, I wouldn't trade having her now for anything, even though I wish our circumstances were different and I could stay home full time, or even part time. I just hope and pray that by September, I'll be able to be home with her at least a little bit more.