I sent the text of yesterday's blog to my grandmother.
You know how on G.rey's A.natomy, Meredith and Cristina are each other's "person"? Well, my grandma is mine. She and my grandfather, who passed away when I was in college, raised me from the age of six months after a car accident killed my father and left my mother permanently and seriously disabled.
She is pretty much my favorite person, and always gives the right advice. When I was growing up, sometimes that advice was difficult to hear when it wasn't what I necessarily wanted to hear. She is unfailingly wise, and kind, with a dry and wicked sense of humor to temper even the harshest words.
Along with the text of my blog, I sent her this message:
Here's what I wrote on my (anonymous) blog today. While every word I wrote is true, I still can't find peace with my decision. Write back, please. Give me a pep talk. Tell me that I'm doing the right thing and tell me WHY it is the right thing.
She obliged, with a response that brought tears to my eyes. I'll share it with you:
Yes, you wrote true. And, no, there's no way for you to come to a place of complete peace with your decision, no matter which way you go. What you have done, however, is make the decision that, in the really long run (as in, life-long) will be the best for your family -- and, particularly, for your little E. In a world where "family" is becoming more and more a genetically connected social group that meets from time to time in the evenings and on weekends, you have chosen to be the constant presence in your son's life. An anchor. Home base. That's really important.
As we discussed on Saturday evening -- there will be times when you would give almost anything to be back at your great job, away from kid-world, feeling a little more free and independent and "productive." That's a given. That will happen a bunch. But that's okay. And when the frustration passes, you'll turn and put your arms around the squirt, collect some sticky hugs and kisses (or whatever his current age offers) and know you're where you need to be.
Even though I worked the whole time you were growing up (and remember, your mom made the stay-at-home decision, too, so you were never in day care), you had, first, a live-in nanny, and then our beloved B. So home was home, your "people" were constants in your life, and I didn't have to come home to chaos, a dirty house, laundry chores, and all that wear-you-down stuff. We had plenty of time for you.
In the end, here's what you need to remember:
-- You did, indeed, have a great job and lots of great contacts, friends and experiences you'll always treasure. Not everyone gets that opportunity. So treasure the memories, keep your contacts going and don't completely lose touch with those friends.
-- You didn't fight so hard to bring that little boy into the world just to turn him over to others to raise.
-- You're a great mom, and have ever so much more to offer E than any day care in the world could give him.
-- When things get really desperate, there's always mothers-day-out and more than one adoring grandparent and other extended family members around to provide a little "respite" care.
So ... just sit back, take a deep breath, and DO this. It'll be okay. Really.
She is right. Very truly and completely right. I have to keep reminding myself that this decision ISN'T about me - it's about E. It's about doing what I feel is best for him no matter what sacrifices I might make professionally. And it is completely, totally and utterly worth it.
I am so glad E has the chance to get to know his great-grandma. She is an amazing lady.