I recently traveled to Charleston, SC for the 71st Annual College Language Association Convention. Though it was enlightening, inspiring, and admirable to attend a convention of language and literature scholars from all over the nation and parts of the world, I couldn't help but to think of my babe left at home.
This is my first time being away from my baby since she was born. Even when I had her and during the recovery period after my traumatic c-section, I kept bothering the nursing staff to see my baby who was in observation in the nursery. They literally wheeled my entire hospital bed while I was still hooked up to machines and drips and whatnot, and saw my baby through the nursery window.
With each day approaching, it became harder and harder to imagine a day, hell 4 days without seeing and holding my baby! Ugh!!! The day that I was supposed to leave, I stopped by her daycare to say goodbye and I just held her, and weeped, and changed her poopy diaper while her daycare teachers just looked on and tried to be supportive. I was an emotional wreck...After an hour of that, I had to go to my mama's house to get a pep talk because I was just crying and snot running and everything.
Of course, a few miles couldn't keep me away. I called when I landed in Atlanta, I called again when I landed in Charleston, I called again when I checked into the hotel, I called again before her usual bedtime, and I called again to make sure she went off to sleep even though I wasn't there. I asked things like,
"You got her laying next to my pillow in the bed?"
"Did she eat OK?"
"Is she looking for me?" "No," says my husband. "Well, at least lie to me and say she did, geez!" My heart slowly breaking when he told me this unfortunate bit of news. "Oh babe, I'm sorry, she was looking for her mommy. She misses you!" Good save, Dad. Here's a picture he sent to me of my first night away and how she finally went to sleep. I almost cried!
But this trip has taught me several things about motherhood/parenthood:
1. I absolutely have a new found appreciation and respect for parents who travel with kids, especially those with more than one. Wow! How do you do it?
2. Next trip I'm flying, I will be traveling with babe in arms.
3. There are a lot of compromises you must make as a mommy on the career track. Though sometimes you will have to leave your babes behind, you must always do your best to let your kids know that you love and miss them with all your heart.
This was such a new feeling for me. But the best part must have been when Daddy let me talk to my babe on speakerphone and he told me, "Oh my goodness, she is smiling and looking all across the room looking to see where your voice is coming from." That must be some attestation to some good mothering!
Random things I saw and heard while away:
*"Ladies and Gentleman, this board is older than I am so the flight that appears on there does not exist."
*Seconds before taking off and stopping abruptly: "This is the captain...A light just came on that I'm not happy with so I am going to stop this plane and get in touch with maintenance."
*Brown eggs. Baby chicks. Worms.
*My husband and I singing over the phone, "Cheesy Noodle Casserole. MMM-MM-MMMMM. Possibilities!"
One of the highlights of the trip was spending my institutions own money on food. I felt like Rachel Ray on 40 Dollars a Day, but I had 11 extra dollars. What great food to be had in Charleston.