I’m a survivor

I survived my first weekend away from Declan! Survived is putting it mildly; I actually enjoyed myself, which was way more than I expected.

This past weekend, we headed to North Carolina for our new nephew’s Baptism. As much as everyone wanted Declan to come, it would have just been way too complicated and hectic for everyone: a long road trip, staying in a hotel, going to church, etc. So we made the executive decision a few months ago that he would stay with my mom while we went.

The weeks heading up to the trip, I literally could not think or talk about leaving him without tearing up a little. I know, ridiculous. He spends the night with my mom a lot, and we always enjoy it and never feel anxious at all. I know what a great time he has with her, and vice versa, so any fear I have about being away from him is nil. But being away from him for 2 and a half days was different. I think my biggest concern was that he would not just miss us, but fear us being gone. Since I have no idea what an almost-two-year-old’s concept of time is, I think that’s a valid fear. I pictured him asking about us to my mom, or crying if he saw a picture of us or if he talked to me on the phone. My stomach would tense up and my heart would race — I told Paul he couldn’t talk about the weekend until closer to time. Like once we got back.

Then something happened. Declan was a TERROR for about, oh, 2 weeks before our trip. Awful. Whining, no napping, hitting, pushing … the whole toddler mess. And suddenly, a weekend away from diapers and whining and Elmo and Play-Doh sounded really really good. Especially when you throw in a hotel room (that I don’t have to straighten up) with a HUGE whirlpool tub, delicious home-cooked meals and no reason to get up at 7 a.m. My anxiety melted away like the snow (that keeps falling here, for pete’s sake). It reminded me of the way pregnancy prepares you for labor. Around 4 or 5 months, you know labor is inevitable, but the thought of it will send any woman into a panic attack like no other. “I have to push a baby out of WHERE? OMG, NO. No. Just. No.” But then something happens around 8 months in: Misery. Suddenly, this parasite living inside you is so big that you can’t breathe, you can’t eat, you can’t sleep, all you do is pee and ache and sweat and moan and bitch. And then you realize that in just a few weeks, it will all. be. over. Sure, it will hurt, and sure, you can’t really fathom how THAT comes out of THERE, but you really don’t care, as long as you can take a deep breath again and you can sneeze without peeing. So labor becomes a means to an end, and that makes it ok.

Of course, the week before we left, he acted much better, which could have swung the pendulum back the other way, but in a way, it was nice to know that my mom wasn’t going to be dealing with the Terror of Tennessee.

So we headed out for a wonderful weekend that was anxiety-free and full of relaxation and some much needed one-on-one time with Paul. I hadn’t considered the benefit of us spending time together alone and how nice it was to converse freely and be on our own schedule. It was very refreshing, for us both.

And of course, Declan did just fine. No tears, no wondering where Mommy is, basically no realization at all that we were gone, of course. I have a feeling a little spoiling by his BeBe went a long way.

But nothing beat the feeling of holding him in my arms on Sunday night. I felt like I was whole again, and ready to handle whatever my crazy child can throw my way.

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