Tuesday afternoon was my first day away from Eli. My mother-in-law generously offered to babysit and I had finally built up enough of a milk "stash" to leave him for a few hours without needing to rush home to feed him. Before I left, I found myself imagining what it would be like to leave Eli. I kept thinking that I'd send a longing glance his way, we'd look into each other's tear-filled eyes. He'd cry out when I leave and I'd tearfully shut the door behind me, crying all the way to the mall. I'd think of nothing but him the entire time and feel like a piece of me was missing as I walked the mall.
Not even close.
Here's how it really went: My mother-in-law arrived, we chatted for a bit, me giving her the download on when he'd need to eat, when he'd probably nap and all that other stuff that was oh-so-boring to me before I was a mom and is now all that I think about.
Then I left.
Then I went shopping.
I thought about him a bit. Wondering what he was doing. Then telling myself he's probably hanging out and tooting. Or burping.
Both are sure signs he's feeling good and let's be honest, he's really good at both.
Then I kept shopping. I bought some sandals. Looked at a picture text from my mother-in-law of him sleeping. He looked the same as he always does.
If there had been sound, I'm sure he would have been tooting.
My mom would prefer that I call them "bubbles."
But really, they're farts. Like man farts. Like I can't tell if they're from Mike or Eli.
So I'm compromising with my mother because she reads my blog and I'm calling them "toots."
Anyway, on my drive back to the house. I thought to myself, "Do I miss Eli like crazy?" "Has this been sooooo hard?" "Was it what I thought it would be?"
Is it terrible to say "nope" to all of the above?
Sure, it was weird to be without him for the first time in four-and-a-half weeks. And I did think about him a lot - but more because I felt like I should. Not just because.
When I got home, I honestly thought I would want to rush over to him and just cuddle with him the rest of the day, telling him how sorry I was to leave him and that I missed him SO much. But when I arrived, my mother-in-law was hanging with him, having an absolute blast and Eli was perfect and happy (and tooting - so I definitely knew all was well) so I just got myself a drink of water and sat down to chat and show off my purchases.
The thing was, I knew he was in awesome hands, that all his needs were being met and as much as I sometimes hate to admit it - that he didn't even know I was gone. It was okay not to miss him like crazy and and in fact, I think I came back a bit of a better mother. Refreshed, feeling a bit more like my old self, and definitely better dressed. I had to remind myself that just because I've heard that it's hard for moms to be away from their children for the first time, doesn't mean it has to be that way for me. And I shouldn't force myself to feel anything I don't.
I know there will be times when I'm away from Eli that I will miss him - fiercely. But this time? I didn't. And while it surprised me, I know it was okay.
Clearly Eli's cool with it, I mean his toots are off the charts today ...