Opinion

Separation anxiety

I’ve never really been one of those parents who clings to their child, unable to trust anyone to watch them.

In fact, I’m generally quite the opposite – please take her, I need a break, would love to get some running around done without a flailing toddler in tow, or just want to relax and cater only to myself for once.

Of course I won’t let just anyone watch my daughter – mainly because she’s quite shy around strangers and I don’t like her feeling like I’ve abandoned her.

But when it comes to grandparents, day care, and some friends, I know she’s in good hands. Plus I know how much fun she has with them. I do feel guilty a lot, as most moms do, leaving my daughter at day care while I work. Having only four hours a day with my daughter hardly seems fair to her. But I know it’s good for her to socialize and despite handing over a significant chunk of my paycheque to day care, the extra money I have left over really does help to make ends meet.

Aside from the occasional sleepover at Nana’s, the longest I’ve been away from my little girl is when I went to Vegas in November for a few nights. The day I left is still burned in my memory.

As I packed our bags to head to the airport, my daughter had a look of puzzlement on her face. I tried to explain that mommy and daddy were going away for a few days and that Nana would be staying with her. I’m not sure she was old enough to understand as she nonchalantly smiled and waved bye-bye to us.

Meanwhile I was sobbing away, wiping tears from my eyes and feeling broken-hearted to leave her.

Of course, a few hours in the city of sin cheered me up.

The reason I’m reliving all of this is that my mom (a.k.a. Nana) wants to take her granddaughter on a week-long trip to Vancouver and the Island. I’ve been back and forth about the idea and seem to be making up every kind of excuse.

“I have to pay for day care regardless. What if she gets sick? Or worse?”

On one hand, the break would be nice – hey maybe my husband and I could even get away for a romantic weekend, we haven’t done that since our honeymoon three years ago.

But on the other hand, I would feel guilty the entire time. It would feel like I’m sloughing off my responsibility of caring for my daughter – just like the guilt I feel while she’s at day care.

I worry that her schedule (which I’ve worked so hard to set up and keep in place) would be thrown out of whack and I’d have to start all over again when she returned. Or worse yet, that she’d get sick or something bad would happen.

My mom continually reminds me: “She’ll be fine.” But no one can predict that for sure.

It’s not that I don’t trust my mom. She raised me single-handedly, and from what she tells me I was far from an angel, therefore she can deal with anything her granddaughter throws at her.

I think the main reason I’m so hesitant is I’m jealous.

The trip is an experience that I’d like to share with my daughter, something I would enjoy. They might be flying to Vancouver, which would be my daughter’s first airplane ride and I start to tear up just thinking about the fact that I won’t be a part of that “first.” Then there’s the ferry trip to the Island, another “first.” And a visit with some relatives she’s never met.

In all reality, I’ll likely let her go (sob), but I just hope my mom understands how hard it is for me.

And she better take lots of pictures.

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