Well, today was the day I have been dreading since I found out I was pregnant over a year ago...Noelle's first day at daycare. From the second I knew I was going to have a baby, I began fretting over who was going to watch the baby while I was working. Staying at home is not only not an option for me, but it also really isn't my true preference at this point as I am just hitting my stride in the classroom. However, I knew then that I would love this child more than life itself, and finding a babysitter would be no small task.
I put it off until about January, and I started looking in the Indy area. The going rate was about $250 per week. For the month, it would be more than our mortgage payment. We had been pretty diligent in saving money for child care, but this type of cost would just about wipe us out...and all for someone else to take care of our baby. We put Noelle (at the time, Baby E) on the list at one daycare just down the road from us, and we stopped thinking about it for a while.
Noelle was born (yay!), and I immediately started stressing again over this childcare decision. Finally, in June, I decided to get my butt in gear and start exploring other daycare options. Something was tugging at my heart, telling me that the daycare we had signed her up for wasn't quite right. I took personal recommendations from my colleagues at school, and I was able to find some good options in Muncie. I was always so hesitant to bring Noelle to Muncie with me each day, but the pros far outweighed the cons in this situation. With her in Muncie, we would be saving about $400 a month, she would be 10 minutes away from me and even less away from my family as well as Luke's. If she ever got sick, I could leave immediately and get her. Plus, as Noelle gets older, she and I can use the time in the car to talk and sing together.
After much consideration, I decided on River of Life Church as the daycare provider for Noelle. I personally know the director and lead infant room teacher, so I felt good about signing her up.
And then came today. Where did my summer go? I seriously feel like I was just packing everything up at school, and now we are back already! Anyway, we gently woke our little angel up this morning at 5:30 and began the process of getting her ready for her first day. She was SO cute. She had squinty eyes and her hair was sticking straight up. Baby bed-head is sooooo cute. She was rubbing her eyes and smiling sweetly at us, clearly wondering why the heck we were waking her up so early. Luke fed her while I got ready, and then we loaded her up and I hit the road.
I could tell that Noelle was asleep by the time I got on I-69, and we made it to Muncie without any problems. I nervously took her to the baby room at River of Life and I handed her off to the teacher there. She was smiling and staring at the fun stuff hanging from the ceiling. She seemed to be trusting and didn't show any anxiety. I took this as my moment to leave, and I turned around and headed out. Of course I got choked up and my eyes filled with tears, but I refused to let myself get any more emotional than that. I knew that if I started, I wouldn't stop...and I didn't bring any make up to touch up with. :-)
I thought about Noelle allllll day. I wanted to go get her numerous times, but I knew that she was OK and in good hands. My parents went to visit her and said she was doing fine, so I got through the day and waited for my chance to go get her. I was so excited to go pick her up and hold her! She was finishing a bottle when I arrived and seemed to be OK. We safely made our way back home.
Today proved to me a couple of things. First off, motherhood has made me very strong. I have faced so many fears over the past year, and I have learned that I can get through anything with the right attitude. Second, Noelle is a very well-adjusted and happy baby. She trusts me, and when I am at ease, she knows that everything is going to be alright. She doesn't need me to be around all the time, and she can be flexible in a number of situations. She is such a wonderful little girl, and I can't wait to see how her personality develops.
Here's hoping tomorrow is just as smooth as today.
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