Parenthood

A Morning Apart

My husband would say I cut the umbilical cord.

I sent my son to “nursery” for a morning for the first time in his nearly two years, after months of thinking about it.

He was pretty cool about the good-bye. I told him I would leave for a while, then come back to get him. The first time I said this, he shuddered, said, “No!” and reached up to me. So I didn’t go right away. A couple of minutes later when I tried again, he said “Get you? OK.” and returned to a backhoe loader toy after accepting a kiss on the cheek.

Then I went home. It was so strange, walking into the house without him. So quiet. The dog even seemed confused. I wanted to call my mom to talk about it, about how suddenly I couldn’t believe I was choosing to leave my child somewhere else so that I could have some time to myself. How empty the day felt. But I knew she wouldn’t appreciate a call at 4 AM (damn you, Atlantic Ocean), so I turned on some music.

I turned on something that wasn’t The Muppets Soundtrack. I put a kettle on. I peed with the door closed, without defending the toilet paper from a violent, ceaseless unrolling.

I knocked out some laundry. I unloaded the dishwasher without a single clean item receiving a toddler sliming. I quickly loaded up the car with items to consign at the base thrift shop and the boots I needed to return to Zappos. It was glorious.

There was that moment when I thought of how wasteful it was to use this first day to run errands, and then the moment later when I was thankful that I didn’t have to corral and entertain him for the hour and a half of waiting they would require. I mean, the 2+ hours they would take with him there. Then I reminded myself that whatever money comes in from the consignment sales is MINE ALL MINE to spend on whatever I’d like, i.e. 50 quiet mornings at a coffee shop with my journal.

Scratch that, I won’t have that many mornings to myself between now and when #2 arrives. And the truth is, I’ll use these mornings to clean and, well, run more errands. Still, though. There will be some Me Time.

Anyhow. Other than the last 20 minutes of the day, when he was sobbing for mama and not eating lunch, the little guy had a blast. Especially playing outside and reciting the names of the different kinds of trucks. You know, bah-za-da (bulldozer), ox-ox-uck (monster truck), ix-ix-er (cement mixer), and so on.

When I finally managed to peel him away – because the trucks were on the way out – he had that exhausted look of a morning of play and a total sob-fest. But the day was too exciting! He refused to nap. I think we both need some time to get used to this.

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