Two of Us Sunday Driving, Not Arriving

I'm a working mom, just like millions of other women. It's hard to leave Maddie in the mornings, especially when she, Mike, and Rigby are all snuggled up in our heavenly bed. It can be hard for me to swallow my jealousy of the bond Mike and Maddie have. She loves him so much. He can calm her down by walking into her line of vision, and the smiles she gives him are amazing. We are lucky Mike works from home and can care for Maddie during the day. I don't have the same flexibility, so I suck it up and head into the office with a heavy heart.

I sometimes wonder if things would be different if I'd had a proper maternity leave. I was off work for 14 weeks, 10 for bed rest and four for recovery from my emergency c-section. I could have taken four more weeks, but when it became clear Maddie would be in the NICU for a while, I decided to go back to work to help keep my mind occupied. I'd always planned on taking those four weeks off down the line, but it still hasn't happened. I never got that really intense bonding time with my daughter that typical new moms experience. The most time I've ever spent with her straight were the final six days of her last hospital visit, when things were so crazy I absolutely couldn't bear not being with her. I long for that time with her, more uninterrupted togetherness.

Last night, Maddie was fussy, thanks to teething. Mike had been trying to soothe her with little success, so I took her. She and I went into her bedroom, I turned off the light, and we sat in her plush green rocking chair. I stared into her eyes and rubbed her head until her lids closed. While I rocked her to sleep I sang every love song I knew. During one of them, I choked on the meaning and my eyes filled with tears. I stopped singing and looked down at Maddie. Her eyes opened to the sudden silence, and she looked at my face. Her tiny expression was concerned, then she gave me a huge grin and a little giggle. Her eyes closed, and her body grew heavy with sleep. I finished the song, and then I held her on my chest for a long time. The love was intense. I know we have a bond. It's not how I expected, but it's ours.


Kristin.... said...

This is so sweet. Miz Maddie loves you very much. Every bond is different. Embrace what you have. Cherish it.

Gemini Girl said...

aww heather! how sweet is that?
I understand. Soleil is IN LOVE with my husband. She just looks at him and smiles (even if she's seen him all day). She only smiles at me in the mornings or when I get back from work. He can soothe her like nobody else. On a level it does bother me, but I too am a working mother and cant spend as much time with them as I would like.Eventually when they grow older they will come to realize that there is only one mother and since they are girls they will always look up to us as examples and for constant love.

Rachel said...

What a beautiful image!

Danes said...

A Beatles song, right? I would expect no less. I love those lyrics. :) Hugs to you and precious Maddie.

Anonymous said...

she's so lucky to have a mom like you!

Jen B said...

I'm new to your blog and am amazed at your strength during your pregnancy and beyond. I just wanted to say that this post put tears in my eyes. I have a 2 year old daughter, who will no longer lay in my arms and let me rock her. Enjoy every minute!

Danielle said...

This made me cry.

I have always worked too, and sometimes wondered what the bond would be like if I didn't.

But nights like that, when you hold them for as long as you possibly can and watch them sleep and relax in your arms, you know it's just always right no matter what.

So sweet.