Ok, so the trip is back on and I will be by myself starting tomorrow night through sometime Monday. I'm having mixed feelings all around, to be honest. I mean, I want them to go. It'll be a fun trip for both of them, I think, and it'll give Jacob some good quality time with family he doesn't see as much as would be ideal. You may be wondering why I'm not going, and it's mostly because I am way behind at work (thanks to vacation, funeral time, and more vacation) and I really can't fathom another 7+ hour car ride each way in the same general direction we just traveled on our vacation. But I like new adventures, so not being part of this one will be a little hard. Still, there's going to be some fun stops for them along the way and Jacob's a good traveler, so hopefully they'll have an awesome time.
I'm a little sad I'll be missing a bunch of (exciting) days of Jacob's life, as that's something I'm not accustomed to. I've been there for the vast majority of his life--particularly the exciting stuff--so this will definitely be a change of pace. I've offered up the camera for Craig to take along, which is a big thing for me. Generally I'm the camera keeper and take all of the pictures (hence why I'm in so few), and I'm just a little nervous about it getting broken or lost or whatever. Not because I don't trust Craig, particularly, but just because it's not in my possession. Heck, I didn't even let him take it to Prague. To be fair, he could borrow a camera from work and I didn't want to be without a camera for any adventures Jacob and I would go on while he was gone. I've got all of our current pictures saved, though, and it will be fine. I just want to have a chance to see everything they did, so this is the best way. And if something happens to the camera, it'll be a good excuse to go out and find a new one that's even better. ;-)
I'll admit I'm also nervous about being away from both of them. Craig hasn't had extended periods solo with Jacob--evenings, maybe a day here or there, but not 5-1/2 days. There's a lot of stuff that I just do and don't think about, little nuances of parenting that I may have never imparted to him. He'll be the one responsible for Jacob's medicines, for remembering to bathe him and brush his teeth, to remind him to go potty (or at least change him before the pull-up fails). He'll be the main one doling out the discipline, managing bedtime, and holding his hand tightly near traffic. He's fully capable, of course, but while I'm used to long spans alone with him, Craig is not. On the bright side, he'll have lots of help from family and plenty of possible distractions.
I won't lie...I worry about something happening while they're gone, to one or both of them. I think about the guilt I would feel for not being there to help or protect or even go through it with them. The two biggest chunks of my world are going to be on the road, far away, in an area that just went through a hurricane and could have unstable roads or tipsy trees or distracted drivers. I've seen too many news reports of vacation car accidents and entire families wiped out in one vehicle to assume that we're immune to something like that. It can happen to anyone and it only takes a second. It's one thing to be involved in it, and another to be left behind, powerless. I can't even fathom. And of course, I hope I don't have to...but it's there in the back of my mind, regardless.
Finally, the added bummer of it all is the timing. Tomorrow is my birthday and they're leaving right after work, so I'll be solo for what would have been my birthday dinner. I'm a big girl and I'll survive, but it's sort of anti-climactic, isn't it? Also, it's Labor Day weekend, which would have been our last big chance to do any summery stuff that we didn't get to...like another round of mini-golf, the drive-in, the zoo, or one last baseball game, among other things. Hopefully the weather will hold up and we'll still have some time in September, but it's sort of like having Craig gone for most of Memorial Day...it's a holiday you rely on for fun summer activities, and once again it'll be pretty quiet. And in general, I will just miss them. It was hard having Craig gone all last weekend, and now here we go again...except that I won't have Jacob to help me pass the time.
But all that said, part of me is very excited. Parts of six days alone, free to do what I want, is unheard of in Mommy-land. Heck, even pre-Jacob I rarely had that much time alone. Yes, I will be working for two of the days, but I will have at least two days and part of a third completely to myself, plus three evenings. That's crazy. I have a feeling only a parent can fully grasp the enormity of it all. It just doesn't happen. Ever. When you're a parent you're on call 24/7. There's always something holding you accountable--be it work or your spouse or the many needs of your child, physically and emotionally. The concept of having no one waking me up in the middle of the night or at 7am on a Saturday is nearly unfathomable. I know I'll probably end up wide awake anyway, but still...I won't have to get out of bed if I don't want to.
My mornings will be considerably quicker, I can work out when I want, eat what I want, and shop by myself without guilt. I'd say that I don't even know what to do with myself, but that's not the case. I already have a list of things that I need to do, either because I haven't taken the time or haven't had uninterrupted time when I was energetic enough to get them done. I need to balance my checkbook, caulk the tub, clean the house, file paperwork, change a faulty door knob, and organize photos and MP3s. I sort of feel like these days are my opportunity to catch up on the million things that I never take the time to do...and hopefully relaxing is on that list, too.
To be honest, the break couldn't come at a better time. I need to catch up on so many things for the sake of my mental health, and Jacob is driving me nuts, too. He's been difficult for a while, but I feel like the last few weeks especially have been a constant barrage of the word "no" and any other sort of defiance Jacob can churn up. You can ask him to do one simple task, like pick up his stuffed animals and put them on his bed, and by the second animal (of 30) he's screwing around and doing something else. Getting pajamas on is a major process with multiple interruptions. Trying to get him to do anything--go upstairs, go potty, eat dinner--is met with serious resistance. All the time. Then came today. Yesterday I was a little surprised because Jacob had a little poop in his underwear. He's had track marks before, but this was a little bit of actual poop, for the first time ever. But when I got to daycare today, he was wearing a different pair of shorts and his hoodie, with no shirt. Turns out he went through two other pairs of shorts, two shirts, and two pairs of underwear...complete with one massive poop. When I got home and went downstairs to wash it out, I was stunned. There was a ton in there. Ridiculous. Thankfully I am a master poop remover with OxiClean and hot water, so I think I salvaged the undies, but man, was I ever angry. Then Jacob proceeded to be difficult enough that I got more upset and we ended up not going out for a birthday dinner. I don't want to jump to conclusions, but I'm seriously starting to wonder if he is showing early signs of ADHD. I've read a couple things about it in the past couple days that sound all too familiar. He's still young, but it feels like things are getting extreme. I hope not, for his sake, but for ours it would be helpful to know why he's being so difficult and how we can manage it. Withholding things, spankings, lectures, counting...nothing seems to work.
So while I'm worried about how nuts he might make Craig, God knows I need this break more than ever. I feel guilty about not being there, but I also feel guilty about being happy they're going and grateful to have the time to regroup. I just can't win...mommy guilt gets me every time. Give me a few days and we'll see how it goes...