Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Little Cupcake!

When I went to pick-up Nik from Daycare the on Tuesday, I met her in the driveway.  Our provider had just taken Nik with her to run a meal to a parishoner who had returned home from the hospital, after all the other kids had been picked up.  Somehow, all the other children's parents only work till 3:30 pm every day?   How do I get that job?  So, Nik is like a little latch key kid, because I usually don't get to her until quarter to 5, or quarter to 6 on days when I work later.  Fourtunately, the only day I have to work until 7:00 pm, is Thursdays when my mother watches Nik.  Our daycare provider is usually only there till 4:30 pm, but she makes an allowance for us, when we need it, otherwise I would have to leave work early every day and use vacation time to get off, or work extra hours to make it up.

So, she handed the little pumpkin to me, and we walked inside to get Nik's things.  She handed me Nik's things, and then, as I was about to turn and leave, Nik reached out for her, while I was holding her!!  Now, you can interpret that anyway you want to, but to me, that was just a stab to the heart.  She stated that she hadn't eaten for a while, or maybe Nik thought I was dropping her off, or maybe she was tired bc she had fallen asleep in the car, however you want to look at it, it simply says that I am not the primary provider for my daughter.  That I see her less than someone else, and in this instance, I was not her first choice, or her comfort.  Who am I to her?  Does she think I am the nanny?  This was just heart wrenching and disturbing to me as a mother and a woman.  It brought tears to my eyes, and bothered me for quite some time after.  It just gets to me, and bothers me that I am not in a different place than I had always thought that I would be.  And as awful as it is to think this, I just got to thinking, why do people have children who just go to work all day?  It's so strange because I know of parents who both work and their children attend daycare, whether becuase that is their life and they chose that path, or whether because their situations do not allow them to have it any other way.  But, I also know people who stay at home and raise their children instead of working, whether it be the mom or the dad that stays home. I also knwo people, who stay at home with their children, and I can't figure out HOW they are able to financially maneuver that.

Of course, I NEVER thought that I would be in this place with my daughter, or my children.  My mother worked, dont get me wrong.  My mother still works at 63 years old, full time!  When I was a child, she worked a day or two in the school library, and did home room mom stuff like that.  I think she was a troop leader one year, a high school cheerleading coach another year.  When we got older, she worked nights in retail, and by the time I was in junior high, she was back to work full time, and I was a latch key kid.  I was the last one off the bus (at two different addresses, figure that one out), and I walked home by myself, and let myself into the house, and was alone till my father came home from work.  And, if I forgot my key, which happened VERY often, I was alone on the stoop outside our house till my father came home (which always seemed like hours!!).   

That was my childhood growing up, but I didn't know of anything else, so that was completely normal and ordinary to me.  But, now, as an adult and a mother, I know that is not what I want for my children.  And, I know that my mother and most parents don't.  My mother did stay home to raise me and my older brothers when we were very young.  That I envy her.  My mother says now that if she could, she would watch the pumpkin every day, but she is still working.  And, I wish that I could change that for her.  It's so funny how people's lives are so different.  People's childhoods so diverse.  All because of upbringing, generations, lifestyles, circumstance, chance, and CHOICES.  Somethings you can't change, but choices are yours to claim.  I chose this path.  Now, of course I NEVER thought that I would have to go back to work, and give my daughter to a stranger to raise, but this little nagging, leaves me feeling I chose this path somehow, whether through direct choices or indirect, an that is my plight. 

So, the next day when I picked Nik up, she smiled this huge smile when I greeted her, and was very happy when our daycare provider handed her to me to hold in my arms.  Which is usually how this scene plays out.  And that did make my heart fill back up a little.  But, I still can't help but watch that scene from earlier, when she was not so happy, play back in my mind, and I don't think I will ever be able to fully let that fade from my memory.