Wednesday was the best of times, and the worst of times. I might have had the most wonderful day yet with Emelia -- she was so interactive, and stayed in good spirits most of the day. She hit a couple of milestones as well -- in the morning, she was able to stand using her activity table for support, rather than be supported by a person; and in the afternoon she sat up on her own for the first time (as opposed to sitting when someone puts her in the proper position). I felt as close to her that day as I ever have.
When evening came, and I put her to bed, I was in tears, realizing that my paternity leave was over, and that we wouldn't have another opportunity to be alone together. I understand that we will, but it'll be a day here and there rather than the block we've had, and which made it so great. When I started paternity leave, I saw it as an opportunity to bond with my daughter, but also to avoid a workplace where I'm not very happy, to provide Kathy with the opportunity to figure out the sort of work schedule she wanted, and to keep both Kathy's and my incomes flowing for a little longer before she might reduce her hours. On Wednesday evening, all I cared about was the bond with Emelia -- none of the other reasons mattered in the slightest.
Thursday was a difficult day -- Kathy and Emelia walked me to the Metro, but that didn't make things easier. I was back at work full-time, and all I wanted to do was be home with Emelia. I think I whined about that to two dozen people in the office. When I got home Emelia was already in bed, which saddened me even more. Fortunately she woke up a little later, which meant I got to see her before I headed out to the DC United game that evening. Her smile lit me up, as it always does, but this time it did even more for me. It pointed out the obvious, that I'll still see her every day, and that doing so will still be special.
Somehow Friday it didn't hurt as much.