Of all the things I’ve struggled with in my brief experience in mommyhood, being away from Peanut is one of the hardest.
This past weekend, I was at a conference for work. It was only two hours away, but that was far enough. This was only the second time I’ve left Peanut for any extended amount of time (both times for work conferences), and I was so anxious to get back home to that little girl and her daddy! The photos & videos on my phone, and even facetime just aren’t enough – even when they are as cute as these from the morning I left:
Now don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the conference I attended – it is the association that I’ve been involved with since my sophomore year in college, and I got to see colleagues who are great people and friends. It is wonderful to get to “recharge” and get new ideas for our program. It is wonderful to see my students present an awesome educational session to a packed house. It is wonderful to connect with new people in my field.
And yes, if I’m being honest, it’s also wonderful to get a short break from diaper changes.
But it’s hard. It’s hard to not hear Peanut’s sweet voice babbling from across the room. It’s hard to not hear her squeals/screams of delight mixed with the sound of crinkly toy elephant ears. It’s hard to not see those two little teeth as she flashes a big grin at me. It’s hard to not feel those itty bitty fingers gripping my finger. It’s hard to not feel those chunky little arms around my neck. It’s hardest to not get to be there for the sweetest of moments at the end of her day as she goes to sleep.
And on top of that, I’ve realized that as hard as it is being away from her on trips like these, it’s almost harder to go back to work on Monday.
Getting those couple hours on Sunday after I got back was great. (I was so nervous that she would be napping when I got home, and I’d have to wait even longer to get to squeeze her — luckily though, she was still up so I got to snuggle her before she went down for her nap.) Those few hours though just seem like a tease when the next morning it’s the early morning alarm and the hour drive to drop her off again. It’s another 10 hours apart.
All this week I haven’t gotten much sleep (hence Tuesday’s post) because I keep pushing things off until after she goes to bed because I don’t want to miss a minute with her. Last night I was planning on running when I got home, before the husband got back from picking up Peanut. I was pleasantly surprised to get home to see the two of them in the living room, and my husband told me to go ahead and go run before we got Peanut ready for bed. I just couldn’t do it. I was there on the floor with her and I just couldn’t trade in those baby toys for my running shoes, knowing I’d miss out on more time. So I ended up running in the dark later at night after she was asleep because I just couldn’t bring myself to voluntarily miss another 20-25 minutes with Peanut.
I know someday it will get easier. And I know even if it doesn’t get easier, I’m going to have to live with it because someday she’ll head off to college. And someday she’ll be out living her own life and I won’t have the option to just simply give up some sleep to be there with her. But I’m not going to think about that just yet… I’ll just acknowledge the hard parts of being away for short periods of time, and relish in the moments I do get to spend with her.
For now, I’m going to stay a little tired and keep my heart full of moments with my little girl.