8.28.2008

Home Alone

My family is planning a very exciting trip starting this weekend - a drive up the coast, a week in beautiful Prince Edward Island with Grandma and Papa, some beach time, some lobsters, some shell collecting and bird watching. Then finally a leisurely drive back home.

There's only one thing holding me back from being excited about it:

I'm not going.

I'm heartbroken to think that Nate and the girls are leaving for nearly two weeks without me. That I have to stay behind and do the responsible thing and work, now that work has finally gotten busy again.

Friends have advised me, "Well you just shouldn't let him." Or scolded, "I can't believe you're allowing it." But then I think of all the working dads who stay behind while their wives tote the kids to the grandparents for a week. That's just what you do when you're the family's primary earner and it's the right thing to do.

The only thing is, I'm not a dad. I'm a mom.

Every day, I will wonder whether they're warm and have enough books and are taking baths often enough. I'll wonder whether Thalia is finally getting some sleep. I'll wonder whether Grandma is sneaking Thalia cookies when Daddy isn't looking, or what Sage's expression is the first time she touches a crab. I'll wonder whether they'll ask for me when they're being tucked into bed.

Home alone, I'll find a favorite toy or blanket left behind and grapple with whether I should mail it up there. I'll order in sushi in front of the TV and try to imagine just what they're doing at that exact moment. Whether they miss me. Whether they're thinking about me. How they'll react to me when they get home. Will Sage need to warm up to me? Will she cling to Daddy? Will she squeal and run right past me to the dog?

Every night I'll go to sleep trying to convince myself that it's nice to have the bed to myself or to stay on the computer until midnight or to sleep in past 6. But really, it will be a tough sell to myself.

I'm trying to make the best of it, reminding myself that it's NYC for God's sake. I can see movies and enjoy drinks with friends and have that time to clean my closet that I've been threatening to do if only the kids weren't demanding my attention every time I open the damn door. I can spend a wonderful pre-birthday dinner with my dad and visit my single mom friend who could probably use the girlie time.

But the apartment will be so very quiet and Thalia's scent will be slowly fading from the pillowcases on the bed.


50 Comments:

Blogger Mama Ginger Tree said...

So sweet. When my husband is gone for long stretches he leaves the kids notes for me to give them. Slip some love notes in their suitcases.

8/28/08, 1:48 PM  
Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

"Can't believe you're allowing it?" I'm scratching my head at that one.

It sounds like a lovely trip. I'd be sorry to miss it - and miss my family - too.

If I find an extra couple thousand dollars lying around, I'll bring my family to visit you. They'll make sure your apartment isn't quiet anymore.

8/28/08, 2:31 PM  
Blogger Tracey said...

Oh, sweetie... Hugs to you and I hope the 2 weeks fly by! Maybe you'll write some earth-shattering posts that will earn you world-wide recognition! It could happen!!!

8/28/08, 2:33 PM  
Anonymous Saffron E said...

Two weeks is a long time. I would look forward to a week of alone time though. I could catch up on so much! Not going to happen anytime soon though :( Oh well, I will enjoy my chaotic bliss.

8/28/08, 3:03 PM  
Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

A weekend, or five days....

Two weeks and I'd go insane. I'd be drunk on good scotch, then drunk on bad scotch, then maybe drunk on 2 year old, open, sour wine that's still in the fridge.

And then the second day....

8/28/08, 3:22 PM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

Just because it's the right thing, doesn't make it an easy thing. I hope you get so busy that it goes by quickly.

8/28/08, 3:34 PM  
Blogger This Little Light said...

Yep. Lived that life. Still do when they get to go on vacations with dad on "his time". But they do get to have experiences that I would not be able to give them. So there's that. But it still sucks.

8/28/08, 3:46 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Oh man, that's a long time. But it will pass, and they'll come home again. You should really try to enjoy the time as much as you can. It wouldn't be fair to them to think that you're at home miserable. Tell your husband to take tons of pictures of *everything* so you can be there after the fact. And of course their grandma will slip them cookies and all the things you don't like them to have. Because that's what makes Grandmas so special. And Thalia's scent may fade from your pillows, but it'll be back.

And they'll miss you even more than you'll miss them.

http:// just kidding!!

8/28/08, 3:49 PM  
Blogger Emina said...

I know how you feel, I can't believe you're going to be without them for 2 weeks. I've just took my son to daycare for the first time on monday and I was so heartbroken, I was crying my eyeballs out on the way to work, I missed him so so much all day and couldn't wait to go home. When I saw him again later that afternoon, I felt that he changed so much in those 8 hours that I didn't see him. It is still so hard to put him to daycare but that is the only option we have right now.

8/28/08, 4:06 PM  
Blogger Marinka said...

I predict that after two days, you'll want to make this time alone thing an annual event. Maybe after one day.

8/28/08, 4:34 PM  
Blogger jen said...

this same thing is happening to me in about 3 weeks. such a mixed bag, all of it.

8/28/08, 4:37 PM  
Blogger Mama Bree said...

I completely understand what you are going through and wrestling with! Jon recently went down to San Diego for his younger sister's 30th birthday bash, and I opted to stay home with Logan. At the last minute, he suggested taking Logan down with him - for just a weekend mind you - since the majority of his family was going to be at the party and he thought it would be nice if they could see Logan.

Selfishly, I said I'd rather he not.

Was that wrong of me? yes, probably. Can I excuse or justify my actions because I'm a brand new mom? probably not.

I still feel a bit guilty about the decision, but I just couldn't imagine Jon being able to "handle" Logan all by himself - in reality, I know he'd be fine. I just didn't want to be away from my baby, home alone, tormented by every little toy or picture or bottle lying around all weekend long.

It's bad enough when Jon is away for business travel. But to have BOTH my boys gone? unthinkable.

I know the day is going to come soon, when I won't be able to pull off such a selfish act and will have to let go, as you have done. But, I'm still putting it off as long as I possibly can. ;-)

BRAVO and good luck!! Hopefully the 2 weeks will just FLY by. :)

(thanks for visiting my site recently!! your post made me smile, esp. since I got a lot of flack from Jon for posting such a "personal" event and disgusting pic hehehee)

8/28/08, 6:14 PM  
Blogger Jeremy Adam Smith said...

I was once tormented by time apart from my family, as I still often am. One day, when my wife and son were away, I stopped at the neighborhood playground and sat on a bench working. I knew lots of parents there, who wondered why the *$#!@ I was hanging out at the playground. I told them I was feeling lonely and guilty. The moms, predictably, made cooing "isn't that sweet" noises, but a stay-at-home dad friend snorted with derision. "Look, man, don't waste time feeling guilty," he said. "Just be present in the moment and try to enjoy whatever it offers you." I think the stay-at-home dad was right. Now if only the thinking part could convince the non-thinking part of my brain...

I link to this post over at Daddy Dialectic, by the way.

8/28/08, 6:43 PM  
OpenID FishyGirl said...

Two weeks? hmmmm I think I'd have trouble with that much time away. One week? Party time. I'd love having the bed to myself for a week. But two....

Hang in there. I hope you find the time to be at least somewhat rejuvenating. And of course, we're all here for you.

8/28/08, 7:14 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Every year I take the kids and head to Hawaii for the month of August... my husband typically joins us about 10 days into the trip and, depending on what is going on with him, stays around 2 weeks... and he always says the day he leaves is the hardest but that he is so happy that his children get to have this wonderful experience every summer... I applaud you for "letting" Nate go and for giving your girls and the grandparents these moments.

8/28/08, 8:33 PM  
Blogger caramama said...

Oh, that will be hard. Hopefully you will at least find some enjoyment in the time to yourself. Any way you can fly up for a weekend to be with them for a little bit? Probably too expensive with gas and flights these days.

Good luck getting through the time. I hope it flies by.

8/28/08, 9:07 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Alone time like that has its good and bad points. Hope the good outnumber the bad for you.

8/28/08, 9:15 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Schmitty said...

I'm sure it will be very hard, but it will be good for them and you too. Follow Mama Ginger's advice and slip in some love notes. Send them a balloon bouquet. Little things like that to let them know you are thinking of them and miss them. But make sure to tell them to have fun so they don't feel guilty! Then enjoy yourself a bit.

8/28/08, 10:29 PM  
Blogger Ali said...

oh, i KNOW exactly how you feel.
gabe took my kids for 10 days to my parents at the beginning of August. i couldn't go. i didn't have the days off. and so he took them. without me.

i missed them like crazy and it was hard...but they had a GREAt time and now i realize that it's something they'll have forever. the kids will always remember the road trip they took with daddy. and that warms my heart.

8/28/08, 11:25 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

I think it's much weirder being at home with people missing than being away. When you're away, everything is unfamiliar and different anyhow, and you're usually busy, but at home, it just feels like there is a hole...

8/28/08, 11:26 PM  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

I love a day by myself, but two weeks might be a little long. Especially if I know the rest of my family is eating lobster rolls every day.

8/29/08, 12:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, 2 weeks. That's a good vacation and nice grammy/papa time for the kids. When my twins were little and still on the breast, my husband thought he would take them to visit his sister for the weekend about 6 hours away. I threatened divorce if he wasn't joking. Now that they are 2 - well, I'd be glad to see them go for a short time, but I'd miss the kisses!

8/29/08, 2:14 AM  
Blogger Cynthia Samuels said...

If you think about it, I guess this is part of the equality deal. It's probably been that hard for dads too - especially in the years since they've become so much more engaged in the daily lives of their children.
I stated to say something about parents who have to travel a lot but I know from experience that it's a lot easier to leave than to be left.
This is so hard: scary and painful at the same time. I imagine, though, it's also a great example to the girls of moms and dads who share responsibility both at work and at home. Cold comfort I know, but probably true. OH and I'm glad for you that the work has arrived.

8/29/08, 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Amy said...

There is little else in the world I desire more than a long weekend home alone. I just don't ever get to be home alone anymore. Not that I don't want to vacation with my kids - but I would happily pack up my husband and kids and send them off to grandma's if it would give me some alone time in my own home. No Dora, toys, eating dinner whenever I want... heaven!

8/29/08, 8:07 AM  
Blogger Susanica said...

Hi Mom 101. I suppose if you took a two week long nap they'd be back before you knew it.

A two week long nap...wow, my first real shard of brilliance. -Monica

P.S. Any chance you guys have access to webcams so you can all "see" each other while you're apart?

8/29/08, 8:56 AM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Hi Susanica, nice first shard! And great question. The answer is hell to the yeah. Couldn't live without our video iChat.

Thank you all so much for the support. I'll have the next two days with them in MA, and after that they're on they're own and I'm on an Amtrak.

But at least I have you all. Sniff. Whimper.

8/29/08, 9:10 AM  
Blogger Mandy said...

I don't envy the two weeks of separation and a missed holiday, but a small part of me envies your freedom. Aren't videocams the best though?

8/29/08, 10:35 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Think of how wonderful the me-time will be - and how totally wonderful the welcome home hug will be....heart melting for sure!

8/29/08, 11:47 AM  
Anonymous RookieMom Whitney said...

The separation would make me really sad, and I'd be highly unmotivated to keep the house clean so then I'd be all cluttered feeling under my piles of laundry, so I feel for you. Time to focus on the freedom and DO NOT FRITTER YOUR TIME AWAY ON THE INTERNETS. Make lots of dates with your childless friends!

8/29/08, 12:53 PM  
Blogger JOYCE said...

I totally feel you. I cannot imagine my boys leaving me for that long - I would absolutely go crazy!

I know alone time is something us moms always say we don't get enough of, but when it comes down to it, we love and thrive for the chaotic household ; )

Good luck!

8/29/08, 2:40 PM  
Blogger Itchycoo Parka said...

as i prepare for a weekend with my wife and daughter off on a camping trip without me, i once more have time to ruminate about my situation. i sit in the interesting boat where mama is the main breadwinner due to her being more successful than daddy, but does not want to be. unexpectedly in the process of becoming a mama she discovered that she doesn't want to be apart from our beautiful daughter a single unnecessary moment, and that she'd rather trade her superwoman costume for that of the stay-at-home mama. we're on the brink of the big bad D-word because of it. we're seeing a couples' shrink but the prognosis is poor. there's a lot of talk in sports metaphors such as "you haven't stepped up to the plate" - i'm not going to get all defensive here and do my "but - but - but -" routine, this is just the way it is right now. i don't know what i'm saying here, just that i feel for your experience and also want to say - be thankful for the team aspect of your partnership, to whatever degree it exists. and when your pride wanders home, don't just hug your cubs, hug daddy too.

8/29/08, 2:47 PM  
Blogger erin said...

Gosh- 2 weeks!I know it's been said by everyone, but the 2 weeks will fly by- they really will...you should go have some fun and exchange adventure stories with the kiddos. I love hearing my little one (the one who talks) tell me about her adventures with her daddy. They rapidly become tall tales. It's great.

Best of luck! It will really fly by- promise!

8/29/08, 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Alexis said...

I have just gotten out of the car after a six hour drive with all three children fighting in the back, and, if I had it, I would pay Chris a zillion dollars to take them away for two weeks.

You will miss your babies, but be sure to enjoy your time alone because it is a precious commodity for us mommies! Enjoy some time for me, too! Give me a call if you get too lonely and I'll lend you some of my kids--and I'll even give you the most entertaining ones!

And thanks so much for mentioning me by blog name on Cool Mom Picks--I've had a ton of new visitors!

8/29/08, 5:19 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Awww. I know that feeling. I have an 8 month old. I am sorry to hear it never goes away....

8/29/08, 6:56 PM  
Blogger Robyn said...

I really needed to read this tonight. I had one of those days with my 15-month-old son — you know, the kind where by the end of it you not only don't feel like doing bathtime and one more (g.d.) book, but all the while you're fantasizing about hopping a flight solo for a weekend (at least!) alone somewhere (ANYWHERE!), leaving your husband to get a real taste for full-time, never-a-moment-to-yourself parenthood. (Um, can you tell I'm a work-from-home mom?)

Anyway, reading this made me realize that if I did have the chance to separate myself from the little guy, I'd, quite frankly, be utterly lost. I'd spend all my precious "me" time thinking about him. And probably cut my trip short.

Hope you're enjoying the weekend!

8/29/08, 8:40 PM  
Blogger erin said...

I know how you feel. In the weeks leading up to an extended visit for the kids to Grandma & Papa's, I find myself making lists of all that I will accomplish that week. Then I drop them off, cry the whole way home, and find myself wandering around aimlessly the entire week missing them.

Actually, who am I kidding? I pretty much do this every day. They can drive me completely crazy in a morning while I am racing around trying to get everyone out the door and they are dragging their feet and deciding that is the moment that they will decide to have a preference on their clothing, their flavor of juice, the shoes they will wear that day or which side of the car they want to ride on. But as soon as I drive away from daycare, I'm counting the hours until I can pick them up again.

I'll be thinking of you...try and enjoy the quiet. Easy to say, I know.

8/29/08, 11:02 PM  
Blogger Grim Reality Girl said...

I was in the same place last summer.... it was a long two weeks. So sorry you will miss it. Keep busy and it will go by quicker!

8/29/08, 11:46 PM  
Blogger Lady M said...

I hear ya. SwingDaddy and Q-ster just returned from a grandparent visit. I got some boxes unpacked while they were gone, but boy, what a quiet house.

8/30/08, 1:49 AM  
Anonymous Alexis said...

I'm feeling badly because I think my comment yesterday was insensitive due to too much coffee combined with too much Radio Disney...

What I meant to say was: you will probably be sad and more than a little lonely, but try as hard as you can to revel in the freedom to do what YOU want for a little while. And please do give me a call if you want. I'd love to chat!

8/30/08, 7:24 AM  
Blogger the mama bird diaries said...

Oh girl. I know exactly how you feel. Being away from my kids just tears me apart. Hang in there. Write down a list of 10 things that you love to do but never manage to fit into your very full like. I demand that you do all 10 over the next two weeks. I'm serious Liz!

8/30/08, 10:37 AM  
Blogger SuZ said...

Goodness, I wouldn't know what to do with myself if I was in your position. Maybe find some books to read, places to visit... anything to keep my mind off not being with my child. Good luck! I'm sure you will survive. :) :) :)

8/30/08, 12:46 PM  
Blogger Anissa Mayhew said...

I hope that those who scoff at your hubs being able to do this realize just how lucky you are. I know many who couldn't get their husband to take the kids on a trip solo if there was an exchange of cash and sexual favors. You should be proud that you have an equal parenting partner. I hope you ARE able to get things done and feel good about your quiet time.

8/30/08, 6:59 PM  
Blogger Mitzi Green said...

this is why i will never be considered "successful" and will never be considered for employee of the year--because when i find myself in situations like that, i all too often find myself saying "screw you, work--i'm going!" what a horrible conundrum for you. i hope you get lots of photos sent, lots of phone calls, and have yourself some fun in spite of their absence.

8/30/08, 9:41 PM  
Blogger modmom said...

rough one mom. too bad you can't go up there on the weekend. can you ichat or skype?

8/31/08, 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Asianmommy said...

I know how you feel. I'm always wishing for some time to myself, but when the hubby takes the kids out without me, the house feels empty & I often miss them.

8/31/08, 6:54 PM  
Blogger WhisperingWriter said...

I know I'd miss my kids if they were gone for two weeks. I hope it passes by quickly for you.

But on the bright side you can watch your television programs without being interupted. I don't think I've ever watched an episode of Grey's Anatomy in peace.

I'm jealous that they're going to Prince Edward Island. After seeing Anne of Green Gables I've always wanted to go there...

8/31/08, 7:07 PM  
Anonymous Shamelessly Sassy said...

I've always wanted to go to Prince Edward Island.

8/31/08, 8:07 PM  
Blogger the new girl said...

Aww, man.

This post made me a little homesick for some reason. I feel like I've told you that about a post (or twelve) before. It's just the best way to describe the feeling I get when you write about this stuff. Kind of bittersweet with a side of warm nostalgia.

This post made me want to go and kiss my sleeping, good-smelling baby. And normally, I want to stay as FAR AWAY AS I CAN, if my kid is FINALLY sleeping.

xoxo

8/31/08, 8:30 PM  
Blogger the new girl said...

P.S. I meant to say this KIND of stuff. Warm, mommy-type stuff. I didn't you know, mean, when you write 'this stuff.'

Going to bed now. Obviously no longer fully functional.

8/31/08, 8:32 PM  
Anonymous veep veep said...

i too can use the girlie time!

somehow i have a feeling you will be working so much that during "work hours" (yea, like they end at 5pm) you won't keep thinking they should be in the house with you... but you will have a moment or two where you talk a little quieter because you think sage is sleeping in the other room and don't want to wake her. has happened to me a bunch.

8/31/08, 11:05 PM  

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