I went traveling for work over the last few days. There were a lot of things…all the feels.
I had to go for an audit. It was expected, but borne from an unfriendly circumstance. So, I mean, this was an announced audit so I had the time to prepare, but announced because of a crappy situation which is not something you want to have to prepare for. How many other ways can I explain this??? Stressful. Flights, and hotels, and rental cars, and auditors, and boss meetings and and and…I left Hannah. In good hands duh. And not for a long time. But I left her.
I was excited to have some me time. This was the first time since her conception that I have spent a night away from her and I was looking forward to the sleep, the “adulting” and the time to just do what I wanted in the evening not on a schedule…meal time bath time bed time…Not having to be quiet at 9:00. Being able to pull out the cross-stitch without protecting the pattern and securing the scissors. Having a martini, in a martini glass (which totally makes it different than just a glass of vodka with an olive) without having to hold it above my head spilling it everywhere because martini glasses are dumb or hide it on a shelf which Hannah can totally climb up to anyway. And have a full drink of anything without having to pull out a bead or paper clip or barrette before swallowing it. Just to be a person and not a mom.
But shockingly, I’m still a mom.
I know right? Idiot.
I worried about her. Is she sleeping? Is she eating? Is she pooping on schedule? Diaper rash and changing out of pajamas and not getting too much water on her face at bathtime and climbing but not too high and exploring but not too far away and experiencing things but not too overwhelmingly…
I tried to do me things, but I couldn’t even remember what me things are. The audit went really super well, and actually ended early, so I was able to get back to the hotel before 5p. My boss told me to go out and enjoy the city! But hadn’t planned any team outing which I was equal parts relieved about and disappointed by. The old me might have gotten dolled up, scouted out a fancy restaurant (it was on the company after all) or a mall or bar or SOMETHING and spent the time amongst people. Instead, I went to the fitness center with my headphones and said a small whispered “Thank You” to the empty room when I walked in and realized that it was empty and I wouldn’t have to negotiate machines with polite smiles and shamed glances at the total weight amount (or lack thereof). I “worked out” for about an hour and then went back to my room. I turned on the TV and tried to find a room service menu. I couldn’t find anything other than the late night menu so I plugged McDonalds into my GPS but realized when I got down to the car that I had MY car keys rather than the rental car keys. (Insert gigantic eye roll.) So I went into the lobby, found the full gallery menu and ordered a flatbread pizza thing. While I waited for it to cook, I did order a martini in a real martini glass. And then I took my martini and my depressing flatbread pizza back up to my room, turned up the volume on the TV, and sat in my underwear eating pizza and drinking a martini and cross-stitching and fell asleep on the couch at 9:30.
I woke up at midnight…toddled over to the queen bed about 15 feet away, checked my phone and played solitaire for 30 minutes before falling back into a troubled sleep.
Is this what I am now?
I tossed and turned the whole night. I woke up so many times. Too hot. Too cold. Is Hannah asleep? Did Shelby get enough rest? Is there water somewhere (cuz holy smokes that pizza was salty)? Is it time to get up yet? Is it time to get up yet? Is it time to get up yet?
The success I had at the audit was overthrown by the guilt I felt for leaving my family. A feeling punctuated by the purchase of stupid salt water taffy in a bag with the name of the city scrawled across it from one of those stupid airport stores. A tradition being born, a little something from Mommy’s trip.
I left you alone. No help with bathtime. Not there for storybooks and skinned knees. Not there to help with dishes and laundry. But here’s some candy in a tiny bag which should make it all better right? Even though it was no big deal at all. And you got along just fine without me. So maybe I’ll eat this whole bag of gummie bears and drink some wine and smile through the tears while I watch you snuggle each other completely content.
I started seeing someone. A psychoanalyst. A therapist. Or my preferred term, a counselor. After only one session, she communicated that she believes I am still in the miasma of Postpartum Depression. Whether she would clinically diagnose it at this point or not is still undetermined, but the symptoms are undeniable. Everything is not bad. Everything is not horrible. Everything can get better. Hannah was ok because her father and I have raised her to be that way. But her face lit up when she saw me. And she ran to the door to hug me. And she checked in several times that evening to make sure we were both still there. She will be fine without me which I can’t seem to forget; but she is not better off without me, which I also need to remember.