My husband and older daughter recently visited family on the West Coast, leaving me and my almost-two year old behind. The decision to split up was mostly financial – travelling cross-country costs $2,000 minimum. With some summer vacation goals in sight, the full family package wasn’t penciling out this time. Furthermore, my work is especially busy, so me and my little lady kicked it Nutmeg style.
It. Was. Awesome.
This was our first time spending days together, just us. Every morning, she’d sing-song “Maaaahhhaaaam-my” until I brought her into my bed, trying to squeeze in a few more winks of sleep. She’d lay with me for a few glorious moments, then use all her might to lift my head up and get going. She’d request “email” (aka oatmeal) or “ogurt”, until we fixed her breakfast. She’s little but she’s got strong demands.
I took her running, and we did another simple activity that I can’t coax my four-year old into: we took walks. We did the things that filled the days with my first-born. These activities are seemingly impossible with two kids who have different ideas about what’s fun.
We had carte blanche to schedule our days. As I like to say, “‘Cause we’re grown ass women and we do what we want”. (So only one of us is a grown-ass woman, whatever). I took Emmeline to see our Aunt D’s French bulldog puppy on a legitimately spring Sunday afternoon. While Emmeline
harassed played with the puppy, my aunt and I sipped wine on the sunny patio. Then Emmeline and I tooled around town, running errands in a leisurely manner, no one to report home to. I realize how much pressure I put on myself to be home for my family, to be on call at all times, and how this unspoken rule can be exhausting. Like an app I don’t realize is running, it slowly drains my battery.
We hung out with my parents a lot. They also enjoyed special bonding time. She and my mom spent a good 20 minutes throwing rocks into a storm drain, listening for the satisfying “plunk”….because when you’re two, that’s where it’s at! Just like her big sister enjoyed for the first few years of her life, Little E got our undivided love and attention. For us mamas with more than one kid, we didn’t realize the luxury of gazing into our first borns’ eyes all damn day. By the time #2 (and all subsequent children) comes around, they’re lucky you remember to strap ’em into the car seat.
Did we miss the other half of our family? Of course, and I’d love for our West Coast relatives to get to know her better. Were we happy to welcome them home from their own bonding adventure? Hell yeah. But it was a much needed break from the daily grind, and a time that I’ll try to savor for a while.