Eden turned one.
It has been a hard day.
She is such a beautiful baby. She is so curious about her whole world, so easily made content by simple things. She is smart, quick to repeat sounds and gestures, pushing herself to explore new spaces, new toys, new skills. She is the perfect normal baby.
Every day, I miss her.
Three years ago, I chose librarianship. I had a myriad of reasons to do so. I believe in the power of libraries to change lives, to change whole communities. Libraries are community spaces, safe places for the homeless to access services, for new moms to find friends, for retirees to keep up with ever changing technologies. Kids learn to read inside library walls. They learn about what they’re capable of, what possibilities around there in the world for them.
Three year ago, I believed libraries would give me purpose. I want to make a difference in the world. Libraries make a difference. I wanted to be a part of that.
Three years ago, I had one baby. Isabel was so much like Eden. Beautiful, and curious, and perfectly normal. When I went back to school, she was two months old and I felt like she and I were in it together. I didn’t go so far as to take her to class – I was never brave enough for that – but she and I read together, researched together, wrote papers together, found a way to navigate this weird, unsettled life I had chosen for myself. For two years, she and I did school.
We didn’t spend much time apart for those two years. During my first semester, it was just one day a week, plus two evenings when Mark would rock her while she cried until she slept. My second semester, our time apart extended to two days a week, but no evenings. Occasionally, I took an extra day, pounding out essays in a local coffee shop on my own.
For the most part, Isabel and I were together.
Librarianship is one of those over-saturated, under-funded job markets. There was a general understanding among my classmates upon graduation that finding a job would not be easy. When we picked up and moved out of Toronto, I expected that I was making it ten times harder for myself.
And, of course, I was pregnant.
But, there it was, 2 months after Eden was born; a job.
It felt like now or never.
But, here I am, almost one year later.
I have missed so much.
I don’t mean things like crawling. I don’t mean first steps, or first words. I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on those. I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on getting to know her. Even though I drop her off every day for someone else to care for her, I am still the person who knows her best.
But I have missed out on time. I’ve missed out on savouring each one of her stages, watching her learn each one of her new skills. I’ve missed out on the closeness that I feel can only come from spending all day, and all night, and then all the next day too.
On one hand, my job is almost everything I thought it would be.
On the other hand, I regret not spending the first year with my baby.
I can’t bring that first year back. And so. Her birthday was hard.
I have faith that the next year will be better. I have faith that I am where I am meant to be. I have faith that I am making a difference in the world. I have faith that I will make the decisions I need to make.
Her birthday was hard. But. Tomorrow is a new day.