Today is my last day of mat leave. Well, technically it’s the last day of the vacation that started immediately following my mat leave. It’s been a week of sickness here – both Baby Girl and I have had the virus from hell (coughing, congested sinuses, fever, chills) – so our plans have been thrown off the rails. I’ve got the house a bit cleaner than it was, the baby’s things for day care are labeled and ready to go – though she hasn’t been through her transition. I’m positive she will be fine at day care. She bonded with our provider immediately upon meeting her, and there will be three other kids to watch and learn from. It will be a great experience for her and I’m sure we will see her learning new things in not too long. (I am particularly looking forward to hearing her start talking and for the help our provider will give us with potty training).

For the past little while I have been in two worlds – making plans for back to work while still being at home with the baby. In all honesty there were days that I wished I was at work – I wanted time to be thinking about things, quietly in my own office, not worried about what she might be getting in to. I’m tired of changing diapers and preparing bottles – or at least tired of having it always be my responsibility. I’m tired of being a stay at home mom, I miss the part of me that I am when I’m working. While I can look at her and know that a lot of who she is now is because of the year we’ve had together, my successes at work are somewhat more tangible.

This has been a magical year, and I wouldn’t trade the time I’ve had with her for anything. I have grown so much, and learned so much about who I am and what I’m capable of, but I need to get back into my life.

But even as I look at her playing today, I know that there are days when I will want nothing more than to be back here. I will wish once or twice every day that she was walking around my office while I’m working. I will miss her every minute. There will certainly be some tears behind a closed office door. How could I not miss her? We have hardly ever been apart.

I will miss the smiles, laughter, the random hugs throughout the day. I will miss talking to her over breakfast and lunch. I will miss watching her figure out new things. I will miss cuddling her when she get hurt. I will miss watching her play with the dog – her laughter filling the room.

I know that we will have our time together, I will still be her mommy and I will always be. I know that I still get to see her grow and learn, that we have a whole journey ahead of us.

But this is the end of a very, very special time that I have been blessed to have. I watched her grow from infant who couldn’t do anything by herself, to a beautiful child, growing more independent and capable every day. I don’t miss that infant, but I will miss this little girl. When I think back to this year we had, the later months will be my greatest memories.

The hardest day, I expect, will not be Monday – Monday when everyone is excited to see me back at work and I’m trying to get into my groove there. The hardest day will be Thursday – Thursday, a year from the day I went through labour and we finally welcomed this little girl that would completely take over my heart without my even realizing it.

I love you, my little girl, and I believe that every choice I’m making now will lead you to be a better person as you grow up.

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