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.


  1. YAY! Glad it all worked out. We left our boys for 6 days in May and it was tough....and super good for our marriage. It was hard to come back too, MIL takes liberties when we are gone, like painting our shed with stuff....but it was good.

    Good for you for having the realization and following through.

  2. good for you for doing this - sounds fabulous...i desperately need to heed this advice...ha, we'll see! cg

  3. being a mom is so hard, full of wrong and right decisions. This sounds like an AWESOME decision! Glad the 2 of you had a great time! I think your little family is pretty wonderful, you are a SUPER MOM!

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