Monday, May 3, 2010

At the End of the Day (Where I Want To Be)

A hot pink corvette, giggly girl, and crooning Elvis can only mean one thing.

 Someone got married!

Okay, so it was just my cousin.  Not too exciting for any of you.

But they did it.  A semi-planned elopement of sorts.

(And I have to say, I get it... I really do.  As an avid procrastinator and disorganized mess, wedding planning was nothing short of torture.  And with all the pressure to invite everyone and their mother, literally, I completely understand.)

So her parents threw her an adults-only celebration party (she refused to call it a reception) this past weekend.

And for the very first time since the birth of my first son we left the kids with someone who was not our parents.

Two someones to be exact.

My high school and middle school-aged cousins.

While this may seem crazy, the eldest cousin completed babysitter training (whatever that means) and they are both like 30 year-olds trapped in teenage bodies (plus we were less than 10 minutes away should chaos ensue).

I was nervous, but not about the kid's safety (Okay, that's a big lie.  For anyone who knows me I am ALWAYS nervous about my kid's safety.  In fact, I possess the unique ability to project disaster into every possible situation.  Not to brag, but it's one of my few talents!)

So anyhow, I may have spent a few sleepless nights imagining my toddler falling in the pool, my panicked cousin dropping the baby to go in after him and... well, for the sake of maintaing some semblance of sanity, I will leave it at that.  Just know it did not end well.

But I would picture those things with my parents, in-laws, husband, and even myself.  So that wasn't it.

I was nervous for one simple reason.  My two little boys are fatal attraction, borderline obsessed with me.  I mean, really, it is kind of creepy.

Every night my husband puts my son in a bath while I get the baby to bed.  Literally just sticks him in the tub.  And every night, the minute his bottom submerges, my needy little man begins the momma crescendo.  It starts as a whine and builds to a panicky scream.  "Momma!  Momma!  Momma doe?  Need Momma!!  Momma!!!"  Every night.

And even though he shares me with a mommy-dependent toddler, our little bundle of baby manages his own mom addiction.  I am like heroin to him.  He is such a little baby I sometimes forget he even notices me.  Until I go away.  And he reminds me in no uncertain terms that he expects my arrival very shortly.  And continues his obtrusive reminders until my return.

So when I left the kids happily snuggled up to my doting cousins I felt both proud and relieved. 

I went to that party and I drank a glass of wine.  (Okay, half a glass of wine.  I was so woozy halfway through that I gave the rest to my husband.  Can you tell I lead an exciting night life?)

After two plus hours of barely thinking about the kids I called my cousins, just to check in.  Everything was great, he said. 

I wanted to ask if the baby fell asleep and if The Tine ate, knowing full well that both events would set the tone for the rest of the evening.

But I didn't.

I decided to play the cool, laid back mom, resting in the knowledge that my kids were okay and glossing over the details.

Big mistake.

Fifteen minutes later I received the dreaded phone call.  I could barely hear my cousin what with my frantically screaming duo in the background.

I jetted home (in a safe-ish fashion), my heart pounding in my chest and doubts pounding in my head.  

The kids were calm when we walked in the door, but resumed their desperate sobs at the sound of my voice.

They were fine, of course.  But the baby, in fact, did not sleep.  And my toddler grew frantic upon hearing a clock, which he mistook for the doorbell (announcing mommy's arrival).

It so was not a big deal, but I left with this weight in my chest.  

Was I an irresponsible mother?  Were my cousins scarred?  Would they hate my children?  Would my children hate me?     

But then I recalled a conversation from earlier that evening (pre-disastrous phone call).

My uncle told us about a time he babysat my aunt's (his sister's) kids.  After a few hours he was forced to call her.  "Come home," my uncle demanded, "he won't stop screaming."

My uncle is now 50 plus years-old.  A successful lawyer.  Single, no kids.  What he remembers most from that evening is this...

"I expected her to be mad when she got home.  But she wasn't.  She was happy to be home with her kids.  She actually wanted to come home to them." 

My aunt nodded from across the table and an hour later, in the same situation, I agreed.

I wanted to hold my babies.  To sit between their carseats and listen to my toddler relate groggy stories about his evening.  To gaze into my baby's eyes as I rocked him to sleep.  To lay down with The Tine while he played with my hair, eyes fluttering closed. 

To stand with my husband's arm around my shoulders, looking down at our sleeping children in a room thick with satisfaction and joy.

My carefree days are truly over.  Long gone.

But standing in this place, I can honestly say, I am lucky.


  1. Hooray for babysitters...and for babies...and for the gift of mothering them. It must be a gift we mothers possess because as much as we want a break, when we get one, we can't get back fast enough. What is that all about? Must be a God-given thing, I suppose. :) Glad you got away, and got back fast! And are savoring those littles. -Karen

  2. While it is nice to have that little bit of freedom, it's equally nice to know you're wanted and needed at home!!!

    Loved the way you wrote this!


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