Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Musings on our Jacob-free Time...

I was sort of in a rush when I posted the report from the weekend so I didn't really delve into details from our overnight stays--Jacob's with my parents and ours in Niagara Falls. We all seemed to have a pretty good time. Jacob and my parents kept busy with playtime and outside time and visiting with family, and when we called the house shortly before going to pick Jacob up, my dad said, "Stay another day!" So I guess that was a good sign on all counts, that they were still having fun and Jacob was content enough to keep from wearing out his welcome. If we could have stayed another day, I would have seriously considered it. We really had a good time.

I'll be honest, it was nice to almost go back in time and experience life as just the two of us. And maybe that's just because it hasn't been that way much at all since Jacob was born, so the contrast was quite apparent. We obviously love him like crazy and can't imagine our lives without him, but our life before him was pretty nice, too. Would I say better? No, just different. It was great. We had a wonderful five years of marriage (and two before that), and Jacob was just icing on the cake. Of course it would be nice to go back to that time and experience it again. While our lives will never be the same and Jacob will always be smack dab in the middle of everything, it was exciting and fun to not have to worry about the laundry list of things that normally run through my mind at any given moment. There have certainly been trade-offs to parenthood. Sleep deprivation, frustration, constant preoccupation, extra household chores....sometimes I wonder how I kept myself occupied before. I definitely wonder what used to take me so long to get ready in the morning. Ultimately all the trade-offs are worth it, but I'll admit that the trying times are hard and sometimes make me wonder if it was a selfish decision to have kids...because maybe I'm not as good of a mom as I would like to be, and maybe my shortcomings aren't fair to project on the innocent little boy smiling up at me. I know that's something every parent goes through, so I try not to let it bug me, but it happens.

So, you can imagine, then, how nice it was to be free of that for a time. Short evenings away are one thing. You're hardly away long enough to get that stuff out of your mind. But being away for a 24 hour period almost forces you to move forward and get it out of your head. It's the same concept when Craig is on the road. I miss him a lot the first day, and then I just have to deal and get on with life. I still miss him, but it doesn't take over my thoughts until he's on his way home. As for Jacob this time around...it's not that I didn't think of him...I definitely did. As I mentioned in my last post, we looked at souvenirs for him. We talked about him a lot. But surprisingly, I wasn't dying to check in. The beauty of cell phones, I guess...knowing that they'd call if they needed us. We did check in that evening, though, because both of our phones died and we wanted to make sure we hadn't missed anything. I thought about him here and there, but I actually felt guilty for not feeling guiltier! While we were sitting at the slot machines on Saturday evening I realized I hadn't thought about him for a while, and then I felt bad that I wasn't just sitting there thinking about him every second. A while back I mentioned something here about traveling never being the same again. I always loved that feeling once you were on the plane safely flying off to some exciting destination, that freedom and anticipation of a great trip and new experiences. I was afraid that I'd never have that feeling again because it would either be beaten down a bit by the guilt and sadness of leaving Jacob behind, or I'd be too stressed out from traveling with a toddler to enjoy much of anything. When we're headed off on a long trip I may still feel guilty, but after this overnight it gave me hope that I might someday be able travel without it being so bittersweet. We may not be able to test out that theory for a long time, though.

Regardless, I'll admit it was nice eating my DQ Blizzard with two hands, and not maneuvering a stroller up and down Clifton Hill. I think the hill we walked down to the falls would have been brutal to walk up with a stroller! Not having to haul a full diaper bag or worry about Jacob throwing food during dinner was a nice break. Still, I know that after a while I'd really start to miss it. Life without him would be so empty and definitely missing an element of joy from seeing his smiling face and hearing his little sounds. Nothing's better than waking up to his smiling face! And finishing off the evening with a pump (had to do it again tonight because he fell asleep early) just wasn't the same. He's an awesome little boy and I can't imagine my life without him. Lending him out for a day or two is one thing...maybe even a little longer if we really need a break or someone's dying to spend time with him. We can definitely find ways to keep ourselves occupied and make the most of the break. And I don't think that's a bad thing. Heck, I'm surprised I made it a year before spending the night away from him...I think it was long overdue! I was just surprised by how it all felt...the good and the bad. I'm glad we did it and look forward to doing it again sometime soon, but for now I'm happy to have my little boy back in my arms!

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