The first time I remember hearing Pat Benatar, I was in front of a TV, watching “Video Hits” on CBC after school. Makeup slashed across her face, ripped clothes, fierce glare, telling me love was a battlefield, and I believed her, even though I was seven and had not a hot clue what she meant by that.
On the rare (ahem) occasion I drink too much, nothing makes me feel happier than belting out “All Fired Up”. (Try it next time. You’ll see.)
I even followed Pat into her blues era, for god’s sakes. Not many people did. But I could dig it.
This week, I went back to work. I love it. I love the job, I love the people I work with, I love the work the organization does (And that’s the last you’ll ever hear about the job itself. Because it’s just one of those jobs you don’t discuss the details of. )
The husband is in favor. The Boy is virtually unaffected, as all of this work stuff takes place in the hours he is at school.
But The Girl…..
She’s having a tough time. She’s in a daycare with a reputation for being among the very best in the city. I’ve met all the people involved. They are great. Really, really great. And the first day was pretty darned great.
Not so much the second day.
Nor the third.
She woke up this morning, mouth still full of sleep, eyes still closed, mumbling “I not go to daycare, ‘kay?” It’s what she fell asleep saying.
I think I’m doing a good thing here. I’m bringing home some money, hopefully relieving my husband of some of the financial burden he’s under. I’m being mentally stimulated, making me happier, making me a better person and wife and mother. I’m giving The Girl the opportunity to socialize, gain some independence, break her budding addiction to electronic devices in all their evil forms. I’m showing my kids that mommies work, just like daddies.
And I’m tearing apart my little girl’s entire world, taking away all her safety nets and touchstones, and making her question my commitment to her, and scaring her, and just generally (possibly, maybe) fucking her up.
I know it will get better.
No, I don’t know that.
I’m hoping against hope that it will get better. I’ll never ever know if I did the right thing.
As I left this morning, I got to hear her scream. Scream louder, from a place more primal than I’d ever heard. More of a keening than a scream.
And as I tried to put one foot in front of the other, see through the freezing streams of tears, Pat’s words were there, in the front of my brain.
“I’m gonna harden my heart. I’m gonna swallow my tears. I’m gonna turn…and…leave you here.”
I’m sorry Pat. I don’t know if I can.