Sprouting little wings

If I haven't said it before, I'll say it now: not a day goes by that I don't acknowledge how grateful I am that Daryl and I have never had to send Margot off to daycare; how blessed we are that our employers give us enough freedom to stretch and bend our work schedules in order that she can spend her days at home with us instead of at a daycare facility. Our schedules are arranged in such a way that when one of us is at work, the other one is home with her; and in spite of how maddeningly frustrating it can be to operate this way when it means never having a day in the week where we're all together, it is, above all, a gift.

Cutting and pasting our work schedules, though, was obviously a direct result of bringing Margot into our lives; before she was born, my schedule was standard Monday-Friday, 9-5. So making all of this work meant putting my work hours on the chopping block - which, in turn, did the same thing to my paycheck. This isn't to say that we aren't making ends meet, but only to say that we've had to make adjustments where we can. And this past summer, after realizing our financial situation was altogether too uncomfortable (it's hard to say no to Chipotle) I decided to pick up an extra day at work. Well, this meant we were short on childcare one day a week; but by stroke of luck / divine blessing, everything worked out perfectly when Daryl's mom offered to come to our house every Wednesday to look after Margot. And as far as Margot is concerned, her Nana is one of the most magically wonderful people on the planet.

I digress, though. Nana works in the school system, so when the summer came to an end, so did our outsourced childcare services. Enter Marcia: one of my nearest and dearest and most beautifully talented and lovely friends (seriously, you guys: she's the mastermind behind t i b b e n l i t t l e s. You'll fall in love.) Marcia swooped in and offered to watch Margot when we needed her.  And yesterday just happened to be the first day that we had to bring Margot over there.

I was nervous. Not because Marce didn't have every ounce of my faith and adoration, but because I didn't put enough stock in my own little girl. My mind kept reeling, thinking surely we'd drop her off and say goodbye, wrenching ourselves out of her little arms, while tears poured down her face and she begged us to stay, calling out our names in despair.

It sounds dramatic. I know. But it's where my mind went. I know if you're a parent, yours has probably gone there, too.

I spent a lot of Tuesday evening telling her and re-telling her what the next day was going to look like; that Dada was going to drop her off over there, where she'd get to play aaaallll daaaayyyy loooonnnngggg with her favorite friend Wendy. I told her she'd get to play games, ride on Wendy's rocking horse, maybe go to the park, and anything else I could think of that'd help her (me) feel pumped up about dropping her off at someone else's house and leaving for the day. This was totally new territory for me.

And as it turns out, obviously, Margot was fine. Better than fine! Daryl told me that she was more interested in Wendy's feet than she was in saying goodbye to him.

"Wendy feet! Bye-bye, Dada. Wendy feet!" (Poke, poke.)

I've had Margot's independence on my brain so much lately. When hanging out with our next-door neighbors last week as we sat around a fire in their backyard, they talked about how big and scary the world has started to feel now that their son is five and they've had to start teaching him how to operate in the world without them. They've had to teach him how to navigate getting home on the school bus, how to watch out for cars on the street, and make sure he knows his address and his parents' contact information, and a plethora of other such considerations that just don't exist while our kids are young enough to constantly remain under our care. It's all just so much. I drive past kids waiting for the bus before school on my way to work every morning and my brain instantly zaps to their parents, thinking about how each and every one of them managed to come to terms with sending their kids off into the world on their own. How much trust they've all mustered up and put into their kids - not because they want to, but because they have to. Because kids grow up. Because we can't cradle them in our arms forever.

But it's terrifying. It's overwhelming. And it just boggled my brain yesterday when, after we were all home and went for a walk to the park down the street, I was asking Daryl and Margot each about their days. Realizing how odd it was that the three of us had days and experiences independent from one another.

Because...what? When did Margot get so big? Did I not just give birth to her last week? How has she gotten old enough to have her own experiences outside of our house and outside of our care? It doesn't make sense to me. It's amazing and beautiful and completely bewildering watching her grow so quickly.

And so last night, there was no bigger sigh of relief than while I was giving her a bath, and asking her about her day, and she just kept yelling, "Wendy house! SO FUN!"

My girl, when did you become your own person with your own little ideas?