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I didn’t want to, but I had to. Like so many things in life, my return to work after my brief but awesome maternity leave was not something I could change. Of course, it wasn’t without its fair share of challenges.

My son had been transitioning into daycare by going two days a week in the weeks leading up to my return to work. I thought it would make our lives a bit easier to get the awfulness of leaving him in a center with strangers if we got some practice runs in. While he did okay most of the time, it wasn’t without the inevitable heartbreak, and of course, sickness that all kids contract when they enter a group of germy little ones.

My son had been fighting a cold off all weekend, in spite of us brazenly dragging him along for a road trip and hotel overnight. He behaved as expected, which was pretty good for the most part, with bouts of all out tantruming at all hours of the night. Sunday night was the worst, though.

His eye was starting to produce a weird mucus, which didn’t bode well for getting him into daycare. Around 11:30, he began throwing up during a routine feeding. I awoke to my husband freaking out downstairs, and it took a while to get him calmed down (the baby, not my husband). A few hours later, I heard a strange sound over the baby monitor and realized he’d done it again, this time all over himself and the crib.

By then, my husband and I got zen and went into parent mode, fixing the situation as best we could without losing our cool. It’s moments like this when I feel like we can handle being parents, amid all the usual chaos we’re managing to keep our shit together.

At any rate, we got through the night and I made it to work this morning on time. It’s weird to be back, like fitting a puzzle piece back into the puzzle after it’s been left in the rain. I feel different, out of shape, and a bit faded. Everyone’s been extra nice, knowing what I’m going through on some level or another.

But I still hate it. I’d rather be home with my little guy than listening to my colleague disclose far too much information about her recent rectal bleeding. (Seriously.) I’m so used to looking forward to lunch promptly at 11:00. Today I didn’t even eat until 1:30, and even then I barely wanted anything. I just want to get through it and get out of here.