I am an extremely important part of my 2 1/2-year-old's life.

I am an extremely important part of my 2 1/2-year-old's life.

After leaving my job and staying home with her for 18 months, I know that we built a bond that cannot be broken. We so enjoyed our time together that when I considered whether or not to go back to work,
I knew a lot of thought and planning would need to go into helping her make a smooth transition into not seeing Mommy for a couple of hours each morning.

My husband and I discussed how to deal with the inevitable separation anxiety and the "acting-up" that would accompany it. I read articles from parents who had gone through it. We reconfigured the entire first floor of our
home to make things easier for my daughter, my husband and my mom, who would be helping out.

We talked through all the possible scenarios, discussed how to deal with each meltdown that would surely happen, and braced ourselves for some behavior from our daughter we hadn't seen before. I thought we were as prepared as we could be by the time
I started my new job, but it was far worse than expected.

The separation anxiety and tears started almost immediately. There was a meltdown on day one, and the "acting-up" we were so concerned about exceeded our expectations. But my daughter was fine. It was I who was struggling along. She barely noticed I
was gone. All the meltdowns have been Mommy's.

I most certainly want my little girl to be independent and well-adjusted, but couldn't she at least pretend to miss me? The fantasies of her clinging to my leg as I try to leave the house have been replaced by the reality of the casual glance I get sometimes as I walk out the door.

I guess all of this is just practice for the first day of school, graduation or wedding day when once again, all the fussing will come from Mommy.