Friday, November 9, 2012

Keeping the Surprise

I wanted to write this blog post before I left but that would have spoiled the surprise.  I just did one of the craziest things I have ever done, especially since having Mr. F. ,  I flew to London to have twenty-four hours with my husband.

This was important on many fronts.  It wasn’t something I decided to do lightly.  Originally, F and I were going to go on Clay’s business trip, but F didn’t have a passport and it was too complicated to get one in a hurry.  [In hindsight I am happy I wasn’t trekking a stroller around London.]   Looking at calendars, the only logical time was for Clay to be gone over his fortieth birthday.

As I started to think about birthday gifts, it became clear that the best gift I could give him was to be there for him—as he has done for me over the last seven years.  I then started a two-part process:  1) See if my mother-in-law would be willing to take care of Mr. F while I was gone and 2) Did I have enough miles left from my flying days as the tickets were expensive.    I was in luck as I actually found a saver ticket and my mother-in-law said yes.

It is much easier to think about leaving your child than to actually do it.   My guiding premise throughout this is that a strong family is based on a strong marriage.  Eighteen months after the birth of Mr. F, I’d be the first to admit there have been a few nicks to mine.  Free time only comes when the baby sleeps and at that point it’s either errands or exhaustion that takes over.

As I boarded the plane I almost had a full-fledged panic attack.  It’s not that we haven’t left him for a night, here or there.  All of a sudden I was leaving the country, I worried that we hadn’t childproofed the pond yet and what if he decided now was a good time to start crawling out of his crib.  What if something happened while I was on the trip?  I didn’t want to be the star of a made for tv movie.

This is the tough part of motherhood—every day you make choices that affect your child.  What seems like a good one at the time ends up being the wrong one.   I’m happy to say that nothing happened while we were away.   Everybody enjoyed themselves [though Nana might be a little tired at this point].   Clay was truly surprised and I was able to even stay up into the wee hours of the night.

Now I realize that this was a grand gesture and doing these type of things are often once in a lifetime, but what I do think is critical that sometimes we need to be a wife first and a mother second.  Even if you can only get a babysitter for an hour on a Sunday, go to the coffee shop and just enjoy the moments that brought the two of you together.    

Mothers who consider it a badge of honor to never be separated from their child are puzzling to me.  I shed a couple tears on the flight across the ocean.  There was an adorable nine-month old right in the seats in front of me.  I missed F terribly, but I also miss just being me. 

Having had a couple days to rejuvenate I am ready to come back and be super mom.