A friend at work recently became a first-time mom. She came into my office last week to talk, and she started to cry. “I don’t know how you guys do it,” she began. And, I knew. Before the words even left her mouth, I knew exactly what she was going to say. I knew because I had noticed it in her eyes long before she walked into my office that day.
Her eyes glisten with longing. I see it in her face when I pass her in the halls. She is thinking of her baby boy every minute of every day. Although her body is at work, her mind is at home. She had to leave him in the care of others, this boy who has stolen her heart, and it makes her ache. She misses her baby.
Her eyes twinkle with guilt. Her baby boy has a cold, and her motherly instincts are calling her home to soothe and comfort and rock him. Instead, she sits in her classroom dutifully writing lesson plans and grading papers and preparing reports. Her arms ache to hold what she cannot. She misses her baby.
What could I say? I looked into her eyes, so filled with sadness and guilt, and I simply said, “I know.” I remember my first day back at work after I became a mom. I remember sitting in my friend’s office, crying my own tears. I remember not being able to even say Maddie’s name without my eyes welling up with tears. “I know,” I told her.