When I left off yesterday, I had just dropped Truman off at Margie’s for the first time and dragged myself into work crying…
I visited Truman at lunch that first day and every day after for three months. I fed him every morning snuggled up on Margie’s couch, chatting with her about everything from babies to the weather. I learned about Argentina, her move to America and her own two children. I heard the story about the Italian grandfather of the little girl; how he called Margie at 10:00 at night to ask for the lyrics of Que Linda Monito, since his little granddaughter kept asking him to sing it. I watched her sing it to my son as he stared grinning, enthralled by her turning hands and flowing Spanish. She warned, “Margie don’t hold babies all day. I too busy!” Yet every time I showed up, my baby was in her arms, on her lap, or within eighteen inches of her.
She harassed me for more milk, telling me Truman was a boy and he needed to eat a lot. I pumped and pumped and she ended up with her own freezer stash. She told me never to feed him when I was sad or angry, because those negative feelings would pour from my breasts and into him, that sad milk would make him crabby. It was the same way her negative friend killed her beautiful vase of flowers just by sitting next to them! She never let Truman touch the floor…not even for tummy time. “No! It isn’t safe. Someone could step on him, he could get cold! No, he go from the bouncer to the walker to – zoom! He walking.” I didn’t argue because I could do tummy time at home, and if he got stepped on at my house, it would be my own fault!
It got easier and easier to leave Truman in the morning, and he never, even one time, cried when I left him. Margie’s house was his home away from home. Every morning as I got him ready, I would tell him, “Truman, today is Monday (or what ever day it was.) Today you’ll go to Margie’s and then Mommy will see you at lunch, and Daddy will see you after work!” I don’t know whether I said it for his benefit or my own, but it made the day appear shorter when it was all laid out ahead of me in steps.
Then there came the time when I had to stop coming at lunch. My boss switched me from the office right down the street from Margie, to the office across town. It sent me into a panic. Another change, and less time with my sweet baby, who’s face lit up when I bounced through Margie’s door at lunch time. I was worried again. Margie assured me that he would be fine, that it would probably help him to sleep longer in the afternoon… just send more milk! She was right. I missed him immensely, but he had a smoother day without me breaking it up with a visit. He never missed a beat and soon, I adapted to our new schedule as well.
Truman was with Margie until he was eleven months old. Then we moved across town and he had to leave her. I took a picture of her holding him on his last day there, smiling at the camera with tears in her eyes. I had it printed and gave her a framed copy. We recently went to visit Margie for the first time since we left a year and a half ago. It seems so ridiculous that we hadn’t visited before, but life gets so busy, and then Grant was born, and work, and worry, and moving… time just slips away. The picture of her holding my baby, who is so very big now, is there on her piano. We talked for awhile, and Truman hugged and kissed her, showed off and acted silly. She couldn’t believe how much Grant looks like Truman did. As we said good-bye and loaded into the van, it hit me that we will probably never see Margie again. I cried as we drove down the street. She was a part of our lives, Truman’s life, for only 9 months. Yet, in that small amount of time she became the woman who, second to me, knew my son best. She held him, rocked him, fed him, changed him and soothed his cries. She was the first person I’d trusted to care for the most important part of my heart. I’ll remember those 9 months for a lifetime.
Join me tomorrow for Part Three!