This is the house my husband and I lived in when MaddieLynn was born. I keep this photo in the drawer of the nightstand on my side of the bed. Sometimes, when things get hectic and I get weary, I look at it just to remind myself what is really important. (Hint: It ain't the house.)
We were very proud of this house and both worked full time jobs to pay the mortgage. After we had MaddieLynn, we never really thought about doing anything different than just that. After all, our friends and neighbors were doing the same thing. Rush the kids to daycare, work all day, rush back home to try to work in chores while enjoying the few hours of daylight left with the family.
Each morning, at 7:00, I would drive away from my beautiful house and my precious baby and spend the day teaching other people's children long division while another woman cared for my child.
We had hired a sweet older lady, Miss Mary, to care for MaddieLynn, and she loved her like her own grandchild. She would tell us about our baby's day. The smiles and giggles. The foods she liked and the ones she spit out. She told us that MaddieLynn loved flags and that she would clap and squeal whenever she saw one on the many walks they took around the neighborhood. She told us about the first time MaddieLynn said, "turtle" as clear as a bell. I did not know any of those things about my baby until Miss Mary told me.
It was around that time that I began to think my beautiful house was not so beautiful and that my precious baby was even more precious than I had first realized. In fact, I began to despise my house and mourn over the baby, my baby, that another woman was nurturing.
But, what could we do? We had made our choices. And besides, it was natural to feel a little guilt over leaving a baby in daycare. Right? The feeling would pass eventually. At least, that's what everyone told me.
Still, it seemed so wrong. The feeling of guilt only grew stronger. I would stand over my sleeping baby, in her bed, in the quiet of the night and weep because I could see that she was growing and changing - without me.
I began to think of Romans 12:2 "...do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." What did that mean? Obviously "conforming to this world" is something to be guarded against and not to be desired. Yet, we looked exactly like "this world" with our big house, double income, and paid childcare.
I knew that something had to change. But what? And how?
To be continued...
See Part 2 here.