Tomorrow's Eliot's first day of daycare.
Actually, it's just a "transition" day: we drop him off in the morning, cry, leave for two hours, cry, come back and pick him up (and maybe cry some more). Tuesday, we do the same thing, but at the end of the day. His first full day is Thursday.
Therefore, in both a symbolic and concrete sense, today is the last day of a very special period in our family's history. I'm being a touch melodramatic, but add the fact that Amy's going back to work next week and maybe what I mean becomes a bit clearer.
Eliot's been exclusively under our care for the past six months. That's the amount of time Amy's taken off, and the time I've spent more or less ignoring work on my dissertation, because my mind is constantly with Eliot, Amy and the dogz (the Chen-Fan "Pack," as we like to say). It's been kind of a primal, protected period -- and we're so lucky we've had it. I don't really have any words to describe what, precisely, it's been.
The closest I can get is to say that, for the past six months, we've been existing exclusively for each other, with no other goal in mind other than to be with each other. It's an arrangement that the exigencies of middle-class life conspire against. Even if we have another child, the equivalent period won't -- can't -- be the same.
Daycare is Eliot's first official step in his own direction. Even though tomorrow is, strictly speaking, just a baby step, it's the first movement that'll have been taken away from our protected arrangement. "He's his own person," I tell people, "whether we like it or not."
What's so cutting is that I know full well and don't know at all what I mean by that.