I was a mess the first day my son attended daycare. Scratch that – I was a mess for a full two weeks leading up to my son’s first day at daycare. I cried thinking about it. I cried visiting it. I cried when he smiled at me because I knew there’d be smiles daycare would see and I would miss. I read things online about how daycare providers have a “don’t tell” policy when it comes to milestones, and then I cried some more. And I’m not a crier, so all these tears were a big deal.
The crowning moment of the crying was when I thought to myself, “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, leave my baby with strangers!” And after it ocurred to me that four days of labor and the subsequent c-section were actually the hardest days of my life thus far, I then realized this was just the beginning of the hard things. I have colleagues who are missing their little one’s first day of kindergarten because as teachers it is insanely difficult to take off the first day of school. That seems even harder than the first day of daycare. I have friends who have kids starting their senior year of high school, and you can see the impending sadness in their eyes that doors are opening and closing forever. In between today and the day my son starts college (ooooh, another hard day!) there will be so many tears, scrapes, bruises, and hard moments. This really is just the beginning.
As parents, we all have a lot of hard milestones to come; it doesn’t seem like it ever comes to an end, even when babies are full grown. A friend said to me, “Remember, it takes a village to raise a child,” and I realized she was absolutely right. The village is what gets us through these tough milestones, it’s what lifts us up and protects our children. Maybe the more people in our village the easier these tough moments are.