When we started looking for a house, we pictured our lives at least ten years into the future. We wanted to find a place where we could start a family and when my mom offered to watch our baby while I worked, we looked for a place near her house up in Antioch, Illinois. It’s a beautiful little family-friendly town. There’s concerts in the park every Thursday night, a Fourth of July parade, and even a North Pole where kids take their picture with Santa. We purchased a ten-year-old single family home, just down the road from her. The 2-bedroom, 2-bath house was perfect for us. We loved the layout, condition, price and location. The plan for my mom to watch her grandchild was the ideal set up for a lady like me who wanted to go back to work after having a baby but couldn’t stand the idea (or afford) to send her kid to daycare. And now that plan has come to fruition!
I’m easing back into work this week part-time from home. After a few cups of coffee while getting ready in the morning, I jump in the car and drive five minutes to my mom’s house. Leigh doesn’t even have enough time to get fussy before he’s out of the car and happily starring out grandma’s window at the beautiful lake she lives on. I drop him off, head back home to work and then pick him up when I’m done.
Leigh spends the day in my mom’s arms, looking at all the trinkets, pictures and perfume bottles lining her shelves. He watches cranes, geese, and swans swim by on the lake out back and listens to the sounds of wind chimes and squawks from Chico, my mom’s jealous pet parrot. As he grows up, my baby boy will learn how to swim in the lake, plant grandma’s garden and catch a snooze as the cool breeze blows through their gazebo’s window. My mom and her husband have graciously opened their home and a whole new world to Leigh. I couldn’t be more grateful.
I know very few new parents who are as lucky as we are. I actually don’t know if anyone is as lucky as we are. But this arrangement didn’t happen by accident. It was planned. Not all plans work out, but I’m so thankful it’s working at this moment as we move into the next stage of our lives. Going back to work was an important part of the life I planned for after having a baby and there’s no better person than my mom to watch over Leigh while we’re away from him.
I’ve learned that when you have a kid, you really have to take things one day at a time. Every time I drop my baby off, my heart lightens knowing that I’m free from taking care of a small human that depends on me for everything. Once a few hours pass, my heart strings start to tug at my mind and I realize how much I miss my little guy. I feel a rush of emotion as I pick him up. I love that little leech so much! I imagine there will be some tears the first time I leave him for a full day back at the office, but as long as my babysitter (mom!) sends me photos of him, I’ll make due and we’ll get back to a new normal. I’ve got peace of mind that he’s in the best hands.