Time Away Makes Me a Better Mom
A very wise person, (or perhaps slightly commitment phobic person) once said, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” and I’d always thought this saying limited those in a romantic relationship.
That was until I had a child.
A child whom I love very, very much. A child whom, despite that love, refuses to let me use the bathroom in peace, cook dinner without whining, or sleep past 6am – ever.
For the past 22 months, I really haven’t separated from her for anything other than my 50 plus hour workweek (which is seriously guilt inducing and not relaxing or peaceful in any way). So a couple of months ago, when a close friend of mine asked me if I would come away with the girls for a beach and wine weekend, I hesitated. The only thing was that this friend has a way of asking questions….which she answers for you. “So… (she says looking at her Outlook calendar)…we are all going away to the beach the weekend of September 21st, you are coming, right?”
Now let’s back up a second, for 3 straight years, these “girls” and I worked very closely together and spent no less than 4 or 5 nights a week together. In fact, a gentlemen friend of ours even gave us the collective nickname “the flock” because we sounded like a flock of seagulls when we were all together, trying to talk over one another.
So this flock was going away to the beach for a weekend, which meant I would need to part with my little fledgling. I pondered it for a moment and realized I really did need a tiny break. I hated admitting it. I REALLY hated admitting it. But somewhere between the pre-sunrise wakeup calls, the accidental pooping in the tub, and the tantrums over very important things (to her) wanting to take the lid off of her sippy cup - I realized my daughter and I both might benefit from a tiny little break.
Despite the guilt, I asked my mom if she could babysit and before I could even finish my sentence, she blurted out, “Does that mean that I get the baby for the weekend?”
Um. Yes. You get the baby…. and I get to be me.
As our weekend approached, I promised myself NOTHING, I mean NOTHING was going to stop me from hitting the beach and the wineries. Not even being handed an enormous assignment at 9pm the Thursday night before I was about to leave. I stayed up till 1am working out the details of the project, and then got up again at 4am to try to lock in as much as possible. At 6am, I hopped in the shower, got dressed, packed up separate bags for myself and my daughter, gave her tons of kisses, and headed into the office the second the nanny showed up. I worked furiously, with laser focus, and the determination of catching a 6pm train out to the beach. My dad picked my daughter up at my apartment; I caught the train, caught my breath, and enjoyed a nice uninterrupted 2 hour ride out to Long Island.
But about 18 minutes after the train left the station, something crazy happened. I began to miss my daughter so much that my heart hurt. I missed the way she smelled, the sound of her giggles, and how she hugs my legs when I walk in the door. And all of the sudden, I began getting wistful about the joys of motherhood and how amazing it is. It was as if upon entering the train, I put on rose-colored glasses.
Now don’t get me wrong – I DID NOT turn around. Like I said – NOTHING was going to get in the way of this weekend. Instead, I proceeded to meet up with the flock (see below photo) and we did what we do best: we drank wine, went to the beach, shared too much information with each other and had incredibly inappropriate conversations peppered with curse words that I normally have to censor…and it was FABULOUS.
But not as fabulous as it was to come home to my beautiful little girl, who, the moment I opened the door, said, “Mommy’s home! Woooohoooo!” And later that night while I was cooking dinner, I didn’t even mind her shrieking about her sippy cup – in fact, it was ALMOST music to my ears.
Like I said, absence does make the heart grow fonder.