The leaves rustled and swirled in the wake of the car before me. As they settled into myriad patterns, I drove past leaving them swirling again. The sunlight streamed through the windshield, the leaves came floating down. Shades of yellow, orange and red. On a different day, I would have been struck by its beauty. Today they seemed to mirror the torment in my soul.
As I waited for the light to turn, Laddu stirred from behind. Automatically muttering endearments, I turned and made it home. Watching the garage door roll down in the rearview, I just sat letting the emotions wash over me. I tried. I did.
Sliding off the driver’s seat, I made my way to laddu who seemed to be happier in the confines of a space she knew. Grabbing my bag, I opened the door. The grumpy little cherub in my hand let out a gleeful shriek. She was happy to be home. I was too.
This past week has been a tussle between heart and head. Between pragmatism and impulsivity. Each day I dropped laddu off at the daycare, I drove back home wondering if I was doing the right thing. When I went back to pick her up, her puffy eyes and glum face told a story I did not want to hear. Each day, I pushed myself knowing time will make it better. It did for a while. Each successive day was better than the first. Yet, things did not add up. The clinginess, the constant need for reassurance that I will not abandon her, the lack of joy in her face. As I used my fingers to push her hair away from her eyes, it came to me.
It was me she needed. Yes, she will bond with her caregivers. She will stop crying. She might even learn to accept a bottle. But, it will not be the same as me doing these things for her. In the grand scheme, these months are a blip, Perhaps the only time she needs me and is vocal about it. I watched her play with my face, her tiny fingers prising my lips open. She craved the constant contact. The feeling of skin on skin. Pressing a kiss on her forehead, I knew what I had to do.