Last night, while I was putting Meera to bed, I was going through my normal nightly routine with her. She has her bottle in her bed now (yes, she still has a bed-time bottle, and yes, as far as I’m concerned she can have it for as long as she wants it… in large part because it helps me maintain the illusion that she WILL BE A BABY FOREVER), and then I go through a little re-cap of the past day, and a little preview of what is to come the next day. She listens and then I kiss her goodnight and she settles in to sleep. So, last night, after her bottle, as she was lying there so peacefully cuddled up with Bunny Bun, amidst other things I said, “And tomorrow Margie will come.” Silence. “And Mommy will go to work.” She — uncharacteristically (she almost never says anything during this nightly ritual), rolled over to look right at me and said, happily, “Margie coming?” I said, “Yes.” She nodded and smiled approvingly. And then she said, in a very bossy tone (a tone we’re hearing quite a lot of lately): “Mommy no working tomorrow. Mommy home tomorrow. Ok?” The “ok?” was in a sort of “you-got-that-straight-lady?” type tone. She even pulled her hand out from under the blankets so that she could wag her pointer finger at me when she said it. My heart just about ripped in two. I swear, I could almost feel my soul pooling in a puddle on the floor beneath me. Sometimes, when K&O were the age that Meera is now, they would cry hard and actively resist daycare drop-off. The way I felt last night at Meera’s bedtime was very familiar to those daycare drop-off moments. Moments when you feel like your spirit (that spirited fire inside that keeps you walkin’ the walk, and not just talkin’ the talk, day in and day out, no matter how steep the incline) is just about as close to being broken as it ever can be. And then, somehow, someway, I got up this morning and went to work. Meera happily kissed me goodbye and screamed: “I WUV YOU!!!!” as I walked out the door while she was wrapped up in a very exciting game of hide-and-seek with her brothers and Margie. And later this morning, while I was lecturing in my class, I noticed that one of my students — a brilliant undergrad who has had a life-long struggle with ADD — was engrossed and engaged, taking detailed notes and making eye contact with me, for the entire 1.25 hour long class. A major achievement for her. A major achievement for me. And I was glad that I had made it in to work today.