Sunday, January 8, 2012

Always With Me

I left my babies at home with Dan yesterday while I went outlet shopping with one of my dearest friends. I was gone for six hours, and it was the longest stretch of time I've been away from them since Joseph was born. Leaving them was harder than I expected, and I not so eloquently handled it by asking Dan about three million times whether he was sure he could handle them both. (Turns out he can...)

As I got in the car and pulled away, I felt like I was leaving part of me behind. (I know, dramatic, right?) I've left Stephanie before, and for some reason it has never been as hard as this. I think it might be because Joseph has been attached to me for the past 2.8 months, more so than his sister was. When she was born, Dan did the majority of the baby care for the first few weeks, since I had such a hard time with my recovery. And whenever we were around family, she was passed back and forth between everyone, leaving me to eat, drink a glass of wine, and just generally enjoy having two hands to myself. But now that Joseph has arrived, he is usually in my arms while other people play with and entertain Stephanie. So having empty arms for six hours was a new experience for me. I also found myself acutely missing my adorable little toddler, who has been my sidekick for almost two years now.

Every stoplight I hit, I heard Stephanie's voice in my head saying "Ride, Ride!" (She hates when the car stops.) On the way home in the dark, I noticed each and every house that still has it's Christmas lights up, and (in my head, although a few times I almost spoke out loud) I would say "Lights, Mommy's side!" During the actual shopping, which was supposed to be about buying for myself, I couldn't help but purchase more clothes for the little ones. In my defense, Gymboree had a fabulous sale, and I stocked up on stuff for both of them for next winter. In a surprising twist on the missing them front, I actually found myself being glad that they weren't with me when I saw all the mom's struggling with their strollers. Trying to get those monstrous metal things through store doors is a challenge. It was also amazing to be able to chat and browse without stopping every 5 seconds to say "put your feet/arms back in the stroller, here's your water that you just threw for the 3 millionth time, eat your snack, we're almost done, we'll keep moving in a minute..." You know, all the lovely things that you have to deal with while shopping with a toddler. And, I didn't have to worry about planning our trip around baby feedings, or stopping every five feet to pop a pacifier in the crying baby's mouth, or strapping him in the Ergo when he got sick of the stroller. What a luxury!

When I finally got home, the house was calm. Joseph was sleeping in Dan's arms, and Stephanie was at the table eating a snack. (Right before dinner, but whatever. It was late, and she gets cranky when she's hungry.)  The house was actually neater than when its me home with kids all day, and he had even managed to fold and put away a load of laundry. I was (and still am) extremely impressed with and proud of my wonderful husband for taking such good care of our little family while I went out and took some much needed time for myself. It was a fantastic reminder of the fact that my family is always with me wherever I go, and it's ok (and necessary) for us all to have some time apart. I'm looking forward to the next trip! Who wants to join me?

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