Leaving your heart in another time zone

by Ginger on March 2, 2010

in Mom Thoughts, Working Mom

So my trip last week was the first time I’ve been away from the kid overnight.  I was super worried about both how I would do and how he would do (although honestly I was probably more worried about me). My trip called for 4 days, 3 nights away which presented, you know, some challenges.

I’m going to do a full post on the practical parts of the whole thing (pumping, time differences, setting dad up for success, etc. ), but first I want to address the emotional part of things.

Which basically boils down to this:
I stressed, it sucked, I missed him, it was fine.

So, as we all know by now, I’m a worrier and fretter. As my dear friend Katherine is happy to point out, I can create things to worry about. I don’t know why I’m like that, but there it is. So of course, when I realized way back in late November that I had to go on this trip I immediately began worrying. Part of my worry was the practical–milk supply specifically–but the bigger part was concern about being away from the baby. I mean, I miss the kid like crazy while I’m at work, and I was going to be on the whole other side of the country?

Then there were the other, crazier worries. The ones that are selfish and silly and totally insane, and yet the ones that killed me to think about the most. I was worried that the kid wouldn’t miss me. I was worried I would come back and he wouldn’t nurse anymore (hello all those easy easy  easy bottles!). I was worried that it would be one more sign of the kid not really needing me–it’s not like I’m the primary caretaker anyway, so why would he care that I was gone for 4 days, you know? It was like all my fears and worries about being a working mom amplified about a 1000%.

In all, I got myself all worked up–internally of course–and stressed and woe is me. You know how it goes. And then?

It wasn’t that big a deal.

That’s not entirely true. Look, I missed the kid like crazy. It was supremely bizarre not having him near every night. I kept hearing phantom baby sounds (no I’m not kidding. I kept thinking I heard the kid in the other part of the hotel room). I had to go to the Times Square Toys R Us at one point (more on that tomorrow), and I just kept thinking of how this thing the kid would love, and that thing would scare the crap out of him, and wouldn’t he get a kick out of all the lights!flashing!noise! So you know, it’s not like it was out of sight, out of mind.

BUT.

I was there for work, so I was busy.

I was sick, so I didn’t have a lot of energy.

I was having to think of the practical–“ok session ends in 20 minutes then I can go upstairs to my room and pump for 10 minutes, then 2 more sessions, then lunch, then I can pump and eat, shit have to check email, damn the wireless isn’t working AGAIN, crap where’d I put the power cord for the pump.” ETC.

So there ended up not being a whole lot left for the stress and worry and over-thinking the missing him. Plus, there was the bonus of the uninterrupted sleep every night. Which–given the kid’s recent sleep regression, plus my sickness, plus the exhaustion of business travel alone–was a powerful thing in the YAY column.

But what of my other, more selfish worries? Of the kid not missing me, etc, etc? Well, because of his age, I don’t think Jackson missed me too much while I was gone. I don’t think he really has an idea of “absence” quite yet. But he WAS happy to see me when I came home. He grinned like a mad man at seeing me. He was kind of clingy when I got home–but I might be imagining that because I want to, not because it’s real. He also had NO problem getting back to nursing, which was a big big fear of mine. Honestly? It was kind of like I’d never left. Which, in hindsight, was probably the perfect thing. It’ll get harder, I’m sure, as he DOES get a sense of “here” and “gone” and that’ll probably hurt more for us both, but this time? It wasn’t that bad.

It was hard to leave the kid. It was hard for me to get on a plane and fly across the country, putting almost 2500 miles between me and my not-quite-6-month-old. But I think the actual leaving was the hardest part–once I was gone, it was done and then I just had to wait to come home. To this.

photo 5

lisa March 3, 2010 at 11:05 am

Oh. My. Goodness. Those are the kissingiest cheeks I’ve ever seen. I’d miss him like crazy too.

lisa March 3, 2010 at 11:07 am

(I probably could have said “most kissable” but it’s way more fun to make up words.)

Ginger March 4, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I know–aren’t those cheeks just too much? You should see his thighs–made for squeezing!
(Oh and made up words are WAY better!)

Perpetua March 4, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Thanks for posting this. I’m just going to keep repeating that to myself: it sucked, I missed him, it was fine.

And oh my god, who WOULDN’T miss that face? Adorable! 🙂

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks March 5, 2010 at 9:53 am

I read some of your words as: “… then I can pump and eat, AND shit” and I had a good laugh to myself. =)

Hopefully the first time was the worst time. And now that you know the worst time wasn’t all that bad, the next time will be that much better.

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