Sunday, July 27, 2014

Welcome Back to Parenthood

I recently went out of town with my husband. No kids. He was actually traveling for work and I decided to go with him. Because of where we were traveling and the distance we were going, we decided it would be best to have the girls stay home with their grandparents. This was an extremely difficult and emotional decision for me to make but it was an opportunity to travel that I just couldn’t pass up. 

My children and I have had very limited times when we we have been separated overnight. My oldest (Autumn, who will be 4 in October) has spent the night at my in-laws a handful of times. These visits consisted of us taking her over around dinner time and then picking her up after breakfast. Other than this, the longest I have been away from her was when I gave birth to her baby sister. Since I’m still nursing the baby (Amelia, who will turn 2 in September) she had not spent the night away from me until right before the trip. We did have a couple of “practice” sessions a couple of months before we went out of town; one of which was for 2 nights with both girls staying over. The girls did absolutely amazing with these short runs with no problems or concerns.

I was very conflicted on leaving up until the very day we left. I was not at all afraid of the care they would receive – I knew they were in good hands. I was afraid of how much we would miss each other. I also had a fear of how they might behave upon our return when life returned to normal. But, with the fear of the unknown on my mind, I boarded a plane with the plan to be away for 11 days with my husband. 
My husband only had to work for a short portion of the trip and the rest of it we were left to be a married couple, out sightseeing and exploring. This carried with it mixed emotions of excitement, feeling a little more relaxed but also strangely empty at times, as well. We were amazed by how fast we were able to get out of the hotel in the morning. We loved the fact that we could push our limits on meal time and didn’t have to worry about stopping for naps. We were able to only have to take out the time to sunscreen our own bodies and not 2 other bodies that scream and squirm the moment they even see the sunscreen bottle. No worries about the potty needs of little ones. We were able to drink wine and walk back to our hotel past 11:00 every single night. We referred to one another by our actual birth names instead of “mommy” and “daddy" as we do almost exclusively at home. It was a wonderful time to reconnect with my husband, the person I fell in love with before children. 

I also missed my girls like crazy and my heart ached for the them at times. Our return home was joyous, as you might imagine. Huge grins, arms thrown around my neck in long embraces, requests for many kisses and extended cuddles. Amelia asked for "mommy’s milk" within minutes of my return (despite not asking for it one time while I was gone) and Autumn asked lots of questions about the places we visited.

However, we were quickly reminded of the real-world of parenthood when we were driving back to our house after picking the girls up from their grandparents when this conversation occurred: 

Child: “How long until we get home?”
Mother: “About 10 minutes.”
Child: “How long now?”
Mother: “10 minutes.”
Child: “How long now?”
Mother: “Nine and a half minutes.”
Child: “I threw up.” 

And yes, indeed, my child and her car seat were covered in vomit within a few hours of being home. As I stripped Autumn out of her puke-covered clothes on the patio, the only thought I could have is:


In addition to that fun conversation here are a few of the things I have had said to my children in the first few days returning home, reminding me of the true wonder of parenthood:

Stop throwing watermelon at your sister.

Don’t cry because your sister is throwing watermelon at you.

I don’t know where you put your lip gloss.

You don’t need to look at the cat vomit again…because it looks the same now as it did 1 minute ago and I'm cleaning it up.

Where are your pants?

No, you can’t touch the deer…because they’re wild animals.

We don’t climb on the table. 

If you take another bite of Play-Doh, you’re going to be all done with the Play-Doh.
That’s why we don’t play with toys while we’re on the toilet.

I have said the above along with the typical “stop throwing, stop pinching, stop screaming” statements repeatedly to each child. I have cleaned up both human and cat vomit. I have wiped up more spilled milk than is reasonable and swept more food up off the floor than I think even entered the kids’ mouths. 

But that all, of course, doesn’t matter. It’s all worth it. Because there is nothing better than the request for a kiss from each child. Or my 1 year asking to snuggle but because she can’t quite pronounce her s’s or l’s it is a word that can only really be deciphered by her mother. There is nothing sweeter than to hear one sister ask the other if she would like to have a tea party and receiving an invitation to join them. 

Being away was wonderful. We got to relax and sight-see. We ate in fancy restaurants and had dessert before dinner on the beach. We spent time going for long walks and holding hands with nearly nothing holding us back. It was great. But there is still nothing better than being home together as a family of four. And being away from my kids for almost two weeks made dealing with car seat vomit just a little easier.

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