and then it was over
My maternity leave has come to an end. Tomorrow morning I return to work, to being an employee, and instead of me J will be the one taking care of our daughter.
I last got up and got to work on a spring day in 2009. That day I brought brownies and we ate them outside in the sun in the afternoon. My colleagues had beers, I didn’t. I had a huge belly and inside was a little creature kicking whenever it felt the sun on my belly. I am not bringing cake tomorrow. I am bringing two plants, a vase and some candles for my desk. At home my husband will tend to our 10 months and two days old daughter.
In-between that spring day last year and now there was a birth, a million stomach aches, sleepless nights and love in a way I didn’t imagine possible.
I wouldn’t have been without my maternity leave, but I am ready to return to work. I am ready to make an effort when getting dressed in the morning, answer the phone in that formal tone that signals you have got everything under control, and to make the most of the smallest things. I am ready to sit at lunch and talk about my daughter and what she did or didn’t do, and I am ready to race home in the afternoon because I want as many seconds with her before bedtime as I can possibly get.
I know it will be tough. I know I will have days I hate, days which will make me want to leave before lunch because I miss her, days which I will be eager to forget as quickly as possible. But I also know that I am not cut out to stay at home. I need a job. I need the challenge a job can be, I need the thrill of doing things to perfection, I need colleagues, I need to be busy and to complain to my husband Friday night that I don’t have nearly enough time to swim or take photos or scratch my nose.
I don’t love every second of my job, just as I didn’t love every second of my maternity leave. But I am looking forward to returning to work in the very same way that I looked forward to beginning my maternity leave last spring. And that was a lot.
I am ready.