I was the last of my friends to go on a trip and leave her baby at home. As I saw one after another go, I thought “How can they do it?” By the time it was my turn, I thought, “How can I not do it?”
For over 15 months I had not had a 24-hour period to myself, and I was long overdue for some R&R. So off to Las Vegas I went for a birthday celebration with my BFF.
For three nights and four days, I left my sweet baby boy with my husband and his parents. Sure, I was nervous, but with the promise that my husband would send me pictures regularly and knowing what an awesome father he is, I silenced the nagging voice in my head listing all the things that could go wrong.
As soon as I said my goodbyes at the airport, an enormous sense of freedom overcame me. I had my personal space back. I had only one suitcase! Security, boarding the plane, reading a book was all so much easier! I realized that I was desperately in need of this little trip.
As my BFF and I were eating our way through amazing restaurants, drinking fabulous sangria, going to the spa, and of course playing a few slot machines, the little voice was always there. I ignored it, muffled it, and tried to scratch it away like an itch. But it was always there.
Tragedy and misfortune danced through my head. I imagined Aiven’s skull cracked open from taking a spill down the stairs, blood everywhere. I could vividly see Alex’s mom getting distracted and plowing the Suburban into a pole, sending Aiven flying through the windshield. I had visions of Alex and Aiven living like Peter Pan’s Lost Boys, eating imaginary food and putting on war paint. Or maybe it was more like The Lord of the Flies–without my civilizing influence they were surely degenerating into rabid animals. I stared at my phone, wondering when the fateful call from the emergency room would arrive.
In the end, it was more like The Cat in the Hat. They had their fun, got into trouble, and tried to clean up as best they could. When Alex picked me up from the airport, his clothes were disheveled and he looked like he hadn’t slept in weeks (not far from the truth). And poor Aiven was a hot little mess.
Aiven hadn’t been himself the entire time I was away. His always happy mood, gone. His slightly drippy nose had become a full-on snot fest and a raging cough was added to the mix. His cough kept me up for several nights upon my return, as I would run to his room and listen every time a wheezing fit started in case I needed to resuscitate him. Perhaps worst of all, he hardly ate in my absence. I could feel his ribs, and his puffy cheeks were deflated!
I have been home for two weeks now and just the other day my shiny, happy, son returned. The only remnants of my being away is that every morning when he crawls into bed, he wraps his hands around my neck and buries his face into my neck, holding on for dear life. I get the message loud and clear.
Yet I know I will have to go away again someday, although hopefully it won’t be any time soon. I also learned a valuable lesson. I have to be OK with not controlling everything. I could not control what happened while I was away. Although it did not go the way I would have wanted, it also didn’t end in tragedy. And as Aiven grows up, becomes more independent, and spends more time away from me, I have to accept that I cannot always be there to keep him safe.