When my son was a few weeks old, I often fantasized about escaping from my new life as a parent. I dreamed about being able to shower without hearing piercing baby wails from down the hall, and about going out for dinner and a movie with my husband like we did in our carefree former lives. As I wrestled with the demons of postpartum depression, I even daydreamed about getting hit by a car, resulting in injuries just bad enough that I had to stay in the hospital, where I’d be able to sleep and have someone bring me food.
Almost two years later, I found myself preparing to send my son to daycare for the first time. I was at long last going to get some independence back, which I had craved so badly during all those endless days and nights of monotony. But instead of relief and excitement, all I felt was dread and sorrow. My son and I had spent every day together, and in the process, had become inseparable, each of us an extension of the other. And now I was going to leave him—my heart—with someone else. Cue the ugly cry meme.