So, I'm a freak. If you've read one or more of my posts, this won't surprise you. I'm a future hover-mom, to use an annoying neologism, and a worrywart and a spaz. So you won't be surprised when I tell you I had only been away from Norah overnight once, and that it was painful.
Then our company meeting starting looming on the horizon. Two overnights up north. Possibly three, if I wanted to enjoy the company holiday party. And I began to dread.
I overanalyzed everything. I laid out clothes for her. I created a video of me singing her regular lullaby. I pictured her crying in the night and Ryan sleeping too hard to hear her screaming, "Mommy gone! Mommy gone!"
A couple days before the trip, she had a bad day at daycare (the first bad day, actually), and I knelt by her and asked her why she was sad. She said, "Mommy gone." I looked at Ryan with tears in my eyes. He knelt down by her, too.
"Norah, were you sad because Daddy was gone?"
"Were you sad because Hannah was gone?"
"Norah, were you sad because the unicorns ate up all the finger paint?"
Then he looked at me as if to say, "See? You're a freak."
And I replied, "All I heard is, 'Mommy gone.'" I didn't want her for one moment to think that I was never coming back. I was scared.
But we did it. And I learned a couple things through this time of dread and planning and staying away.
One, don't bitch to people who have more than one child, or people who aren't fellow weirdos. You will invariably hear this as the conversation: "I have to stay two nights at this fancy resort up north for work, away from N!" "Yeah, bummer. Fuck off."
Two, don't call home. You'll hear chaos in the background, or crying, or something completely innocuous that still raises the hair on the back of your neck and the bile in your stomach, and you'll feel guilty, worried, and stressed out for the rest of the trip.
Me: "Put me on speaker!"
Ryan: "Ok... Norah, Mommy's on the phone!"
Me: "Hi, Baby! I love you and I miss you!"
Me: "Baby?! What's wrong?! What's happening?!"
Ryan: "She dropped her gummy vitamin."
Me: "Oh my god! I'm coming home!"
Three, keep busy. If you're constantly doing something, you won't have time to think about it.
Four, don't make your significant other feel like they're incompetent; as if no one can possibly care for the child but you. I inadvertently did this. Not through directly saying it, but my constant worry and stress about the trip made Ryan feel like I didn't think he could hack it. Sure, I felt that way a little, but I didn't want to cut down his confidence. Anyway, I knew she'd be safe and loved, and I should have communicated to Ryan that that wasn't my concern.
And five, try to let go. Try to actually enjoy yourself a little instead of wallowing in guilt and worry. There's nothing wrong with having a couple drinks with co-workers and a few laughs. In fact, I know that a little time away will make me a better mom in the long run. I need my own life.
So those are the lessons I learned. And we survived. The homecoming was actually a little anti-climactic. Ryan was holding Norah as I burst through the front door and she just casually reached for me to hold her. Then she wanted me to go to the office and play Yo Gabba Gabba on the computer. But later on, as we snuggled on the couch close to bedtime, she wrapped her arms around my neck and said, "Hi, Mommy." That was a happy homecoming. And now I can start worrying about the summer meeting.