I’ve been working on a big project lately that is a total time-suck. It’s in its final week and I’m logging an unprecedented number of hours per day but I’m in the home stretch. I can’t wait to get back to my normal life. As strange as this sounds, I’m surprised by just how much I miss my family.
M and I both work 20 minutes from our house, but in opposite directions, and since the daycare is less than a mile from my office, I generally handle all daycare pick up and drop off duties. My schedule is so crazy this week that M is picking E up every day. This means that instead of my normal routine of grabbing the kid and speeding home with him to drop him off and inhale a quick bite before racing right back to the same neighborhood I just came from, I get to choose a place to eat some dinner and kill an hour between obligations – no commute and no indigestion. I thought I’d appreciate the mini-vacation, but it turns out I really miss picking E up at school. He’s in bed before I get home which means the only time I’m seeing him this week is for the hour or so that we’re getting ready in the mornings, and any parent can tell you that is usually NOT quality time!
Add to this that M is taking E to visit her family at the end of this week. They’ll be gone Friday through Tuesday. When we planned the trip, it seemed like a great idea – M’s mom is celebrating her 70th birthday and not only can I not go (recall the big project), but I’ll be crazy busy all day Friday and Saturday (recall the big project) so M and E would be on their own anyway. Escaping to a temperate beach climate with M’s family seemed like a no-brainer. I thought it would be good for me, too. I was secretly reveling in the thought of full nights of sleep, long showers, leaving for work in the morning with only my own belongings, going out for a guilt-free celebration with friends after our project wraps up on Saturday night, and spending all day Sunday on the couch in my PJs. Now the trip is upon us, coming right off a week with no time with my little man, and I’d trade all of those things to keep them home.
I’m not sure how to explain this without sounding like a bad mom, but here it is: After 16.5 months of parenting with the demands of maintaining full-time employment and no family around for respite, I thought having a few hours (this week) followed by a few days (this weekend) “off duty” would be a welcome change. I really didn’t think I’d miss E too much. I mean, I see him all the time! It would be like a little retreat to my carefree, self-absorbed, pre-baby days! Boy was I ever wrong. I’m only on Day #2 of M picking E up from school and I’m already contemplating sneaking over there after work to steal a quick cuddle.
I realize now that I’ve become a little jaded. When we were working (and working and working) to bring E into the world, I thought I’d be unconditionally grateful for every sleepless night, every dirty diaper, and every temper tantrum until the end of time, should we ever be lucky enough to encounter those things. But that’s not realistic. It never was. That was just my infertility-damaged soul making promises it could never keep. The reality is that the sleep deprivation and the endless cycle of divining and meeting a little human’s needs is draining, and sometimes it makes you wish for a break – just a few days to catch your breath and remember that you yourself are a human with needs. Or at least it made me wish for this. It turns out the break isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
I have only been away from Elliot for two single overnights since he was born – both under 24 hours. It’s going to be a long, lonely 5 days. :-(