Post script - the conversation
I had called her Sunday morning with the intention of meeting up with her later in the day, but she was getting ready to go out for the day and before I knew it I was spewing everything into the phone. While I managed to hit on all my salient points - she's a great person and we were priviledged to have her caring for the boys for four years; it's not about her so much as the circumstances of too many kids, one troublesome kid in particular and the fact that she's geographically just a little bit too far away for easy convenience now that Beloved will be taking on more and more courses and working later more frequently - while I know I managed to say all of this eventually, it was with a complete lack of grace or eloquence.
She listened rather quietly while I rambled for a while, and said she wished we had brought up more of this earlier (which twisted a little knife of guilt in my heart - she's right, of course, but I didn't feel like I had a lot of right to be dictating her business to her and I am in the end a conflict-averse coward). She also said the key personality with whom I was having the trouble would be leaving at the end of June, and that made me feel really bad, too.
In the end, though, she was very graceful and told me that she would only consent to any of this if she could maintain contact with the boys and see them regularly - which is of course the point at which my chest and throat seized up and my eyes started to leak. Barely able to squeeze out any more words, I told her that I was near tears and had to go but that I was sorry, and grateful, and sorry again. I barely hung up the phone before bursting - surprise - into noisy, messy sobs.
My knee-jerk reaction was fear -again - that I was making a huge mistake. The fear of the unknown is a terrible, crippling monster. It took a long, hot shower and close to an hour before I could again remember all the things that brought me to this point in the first place. But I'm still a little numb with fear that we've made the wrong choice, that we're being greedy and unrealistic in our expectations, that we've underestimated how good we have had it and that we're in for a rude awakening. Time and only time will answer that question.
When Beloved dropped off the boys yesterday morning, she and he pretended blissful ignorace of my inelegant call the day before. When I picked them up, it seemed we too were going to follow that pattern. At the last minute, with both boys outside and one foot out the door myself, I turned briefly back to her and said, "I'm really sorry about yesterday, about all of this. I really meant it when I said we've been lucky to have you." She replied by insisting that we stay in contact, because she'll miss the boys. After a brief hug and more inane mutterings on my part about how much we like her, I managed to get out onto the porch before I started crying again.
They never tell you when you are glowing and blissfully round of belly, busy gestating your first baby, how many times your heart will be broken by this mothering thing. In the most unexpected of ways.
Labels: Working and mothering