All day today, Genevieve has been, now and then, looking up at me, smiling, and exclaiming with wonderment and delight, "Mama home!" She has murmured, "Mama stay home. Mama no bye-bye." She has walked into my arms unbidden and given me three bear hugs. In a row. She has willingly given me several kisses on the lips. It took a three-day absence, but I've broken her bad-ass spirit and successfully yanked some affection out of her stubborn little soul.
As for Julia, when she exited her bedroom this morning and saw me at the end of the hall, she cried out, "MAMA!" with such joy I thought her little heart would break with happiness. Later on she hugged my leg and said, "Mama, I missed you SO MUCH. I love you more than anything in the whole world."
Three days is a long time to be away, when your kids are two and four. It's a long time for you, even though you're having the best time imaginable, and even more so it's a long time for them. I was only in Texas from dinnertime Friday to dinnertime Sunday, but what with travel logistics and all, I was gone from home from preschool drop-off on Friday morning until after ten o'clock on Sunday night. I missed three bedtimes. The morning I left, both girls pleaded with me not to go. Julia hugged me and said, "I wish you could stay home and take care of me," and Genevieve turned her lip down in her highchair and said, "Mama no go." It felt long. And also very, very short.
Because, after all, do you know what I was up to? With my dearest girlfriend and, some of the time, her extremely tolerant and good-hearted husband, and the 80-degree sunshine? Well, let me tell you. I watched three movies--all of which, coincidentally, included the birth of a baby somewhere within the plot, just to make sure I cried a little bit while I was gone, I guess. I drank a giant glass of wine. I stayed up till twelve both nights. I slept "late" (if 8 a.m. is late to you, which it is to me). I spent half a day at a spa, where my girlfriend and I had massages of all kinds--including a scalp massage involving vast quanities of oil applied to our hair, which, in all honesty people, is truly a story for another time. Because YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN US AFTERWARD. And we went OUT TO A RESTAURANT LIKE THAT BECAUSE WE WERE TOO LAZY TO GO HOME FIRST AND RE-DO OUR HAIR--as well as a manicure and pedicure. I got my toenails painted a deep shade of purple.
We also ate ice cream, went out for tons of yummy food, drank a lot of coffee drinks, browsed the Sephora boutique, and visited the perfume counter at Macy's to scout out a designer perfume for Christopher to buy me for Christmas. I read a lot of magazines. I talked a lot. I laughed a lot. Not once did I have even one demand placed on me. I spent zero time taking care of anyone else. I stayed seated for entire meals, and not once did I leave my bed to attend to a crying baby during the night.
So did you get all that? Wine, spa treatments, perfume, make-up, movies, ice cream, and sleep? Aren't you proud of me? Didn't I do the notion of the girls' weekend proud? Didn't I rock the Mama's Weekend Away? I'm pretty sure I did.
The best part, of course, was hanging for 2-1/2 days with my one of my very dearest friends. I almost kidnapped her and took her home with me on the plane. (Thank you, V. You're the best friend a harried mom could ever have.)
Oh, and by the way: by ten this morning I had been up and on my feet running around like a crazy person for nearly four hours straight (after less than six hours of sleep) and was my usual sweaty, dehydrated self, having ingested only a cup of coffee and having already accomplished the school drop-off, three errands, two loads of laundry, and the cleaning of the entire kitchen, so, you know: back to normal! It was a nice escape while it lasted, though. And by "nice" I mean "heavenly." I only wish I could magically bestow such an escape on every harried stay-at-home mom friend I know.
Cheers, all you moms out there. You've got a hard job. And we all deserve a vacation sometimes!