I love my son. All day, every day. I love that he is such an easy going little guy (95% of the time), that he sleeps well, eats well, plays well, and is for the most part gentle with our pets. That said, everybody has their days. Like the days where Carter looks at me like I’m crazy to be even remotely considering offering him bananas with his breakfast (oh the horror of it all!!) or when I spend an entire playtime not really playing with Carter, but “redirecting” him from pressing the buttons on the DVR over, and over, and over again. Little does he know that I have had 33 years to perfect the art of stubborn-ness, so in the end I WILL WIN. I can definitely get frustrated or tired or overwhelmed when I spend more time “redirecting” than I do cleaning all the dishes in the sink, or doing the laundry, or I don’t know, cooking dinner. The truth is, sometimes it’s a relief when he’s finally asleep for the evening. Sometimes I need a break from Carter-y goodness.
A couple of weeks ago, my sister and I went to San Francisco. We hadn’t traveled together in years, and I hadn’t been on a good out of state vacation in quite a while. The idea was to get out of town, and in addition to seeing a great city, in my mind, my goal was to get a little rejuvenation and to come back to my “job” reinvigorated. Of course, as I kissed Carter goodbye at the airport, my heart broke just a little bit. Luckily I knew that he would be with Chas and he would be just fine and for the most part, kept in all his routines. As we made our way into the airport, I found myself feeling anxious. It took me a few minutes to realize that my anxiety was pretty much the product of my mind slowing down and not having to think for myself as well as the 13 month old. I wasn’t having to watch my bag and keep track of Carter’s diaper bag. I wasn’t having to balance a squirmy 25 pound baby on one hip and pull a 25 pound (yeah right, like I’ve EVER packed that light…I pack 3 bags to go to Midland for the weekend) 50 pound piece of luggage with my kind of free hand. I didn’t have to think about what the next even was on Carter’s schedule and how that fit in to the things we needed to get accomplished that day and when his next diaper change was due..etc. I literally had to think to myself “okay, turn off that part of your brain. There is no baby that needs changing, there is no lunch to plan for him, he’s not about to crawl off and find an uncovered electrical outlet.” You might think my next thought was “Wooooo Hoooooo!” but it was more like a little (tiny) “boo hoo.”
I must say, it was a nice break. The weather was amazing, many sites were seen. My sister and I enjoyed traveling together, which is one of my favorite things we do. I did enjoy being able to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. But I think my pre-programmed “Mommy Off” switch is broken. In the back of my mind, the entire time, I was wishing for my husband and baby to be with me. When we were at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market, all I could think was “Gosh Chas would love this.” When we were walking around San Francisco, I thought of how much Carter would enjoy being out in the nice San Francisco weather. As we began our descent into Austin, I was so excited to see them both I actually teared up. If my sister noticed she didn’t mention it, then again she probably thought I was crying because we were back in the land of 100 degree temperatures.
I’ve been back from San Francisco for two weeks, and I must say, I’m thrilled to be back in my house, doing the things I do every day. I am thrilled to be sleeping in my own bed and sharing the evenings after Carter goes to sleep with my husband. And the break worked. All (well, most) of the things that were getting frustrating (long meals, lots of redirecting, lots of Carter shaking his head Noooo Noooo at me), now don’t bother me nearly as much. In fact, some of them I think are actually kind of cute (although Carter doesn’t know that). And I might be crazy, but he seems to be flourishing. Maybe he needed a break from me too. (WHAT!? He can survive, even THRIVE without my constant care? Blasphemy!)
I used to love traveling. I used to pretty much at any given time want to be anywhere but here. I used to jump at any chance to get the heck out of town. But things are different now, and I like it. When I’m away from Chas I miss him, and I almost always wish that he were with me, seeing what I’m seeing, and doing whatever I’m doing (except maybe shopping on Union Street, he would have had very little patience for all those cute little boutique-y shops. Sorry sweet husband! You know it’s true!) But being away from Carter, it was as if a part of me was out of place. And that part of me was so excited to go home and be exhausted from chasing after a curly headed 13 month old. I was excited about loading him up and taking him to music class, and the pool and gymboree. Since I’ve been back, there have been several nights (most nights actually) when I’ve gone through Carter’s normal bedtime routine – PJs, brush teeth, read books, rock a little, then bed – and at the end of it, I truly do not want to put him in his bed. I just want to sit there in my cushy glider in his dark room and hug him tight and listen to the sound of his breath and think about how blessed I am to get to spend all day every day (from spitting out bananas in the morning to throwing grapes to the dogs in the evening) enjoying the Carter-y goodness.