You know the scene at the end of Superbad, when Seth (Jonah Hill) and Evan (Michael Cera) are going in opposite directions on the escalator accompanied by their respective dream girls? It's kind of sad, right? Throughout the whole movie people have been pointing out that these two best friends won't be going off to college together, but instead will be forging new lives, separately. Evan will go off to Dartmouth to fulfill his potential and Seth will figure out who he is. In that final scene you know that it's a happy ending, these two getting a shot with interesting and beautiful young women. But there's something so bittersweet about their parting, because you know that, of all the adventures ahead of them, there will never be another friendship like theirs.
This week has kind of been like that for me. My son started his introduction to daycare and next week he will be there full-time and I'll be back to my day job. Although I know those first few weeks I will miss him like crazy, I know that this is for the best, that he will have lots of fun with the other kids and learn more than I could ever teach him. And he won't be the only one benefitting from this.
My son may be the one moving on to bigger and better things (just realized that I'm Jonah Hill in this scenario) but there is a lot to be gained for me, too. I get to go back to a job that I like, a job that I'm good at. I have missed the company of adults and the satisfaction that comes with having a life outside of the family home. It's not always easy being home alone with a baby, and the experience can be quite isolating.
I never saw myself as a stay-at-home parent. I have invested quite a bit in my education, and although I have enough life experience now to appreciate that education is more than just a line on a resume, it has always been my intention to support myself and my family. I had pretty realistic expectations about what life at home with a baby would be like. I knew that it could be monotonous, lonely and definitely not glamourous. Still I signed up for it, because I couldn't imagine passing up on the chance to watch my child grow up. The past year has been amazing, exhausting and so rewarding. Now it's time to move on.
I am happy to report that we haven't had any teary goodbyes. If anything, they have been awkward and clumsy, because we never really had to say goodbye to each other before. Regardless of my feelings about returning to work, I know that these goodbyes are only going to make the hellos all the more special.