Apart from Archer

Saturday night was the first night I have ever spent without Archer. Before Saturday I didn't think the invisible umbilical chord could stretch the 120 miles between us but it did and to be honest? It wasn't as difficult as I thought.

In fifteen months we have only left Archer for a few hours at a time. To see a movie. To run errands. To take a much-needed breather. Saturday was going to be different. I would drive him down to my parent's house, put him down to bed and leave before he woke. I would kiss his forehead and spend two full days without him by my side. Would I feel naked? I thought as much. Would I feel lost and a little bit sad? Probably.

I imagined I would be pining. Missing him and calling in every hour. Dying to know what he was eating for lunch, wanting to hear his little laugh over the phone. Checking my phone every few minutes to see if there was a problem, a question only I could answer. A voice mail?

Then I got on the train. I got on the train with my bag full of magazines and my IPOD and I put my phone away. I spent the two hour ride gazing out the window, humming to my IPOD, reading magazines. I put my feet up and pretended I wasn't in California or even America, remembering the Euro-rail and what it felt to be independent, completely alone. I watched cars blur and people scamper along the coast. I watched the waves and wrote in my diary, not about Archer but about ideas.

I forgot about motherhood and marriage and all of the many responsibilities and I enjoyed my time. I didn't even know I could do that and it felt good.

I arrived in L.A., got dressed up and went to a wedding. I took my time doing my hair and makeup and wore the highest heels I could find. I danced all night on the little wooden floor in Malibu. I didn't even bring my phone. I must have forgotten it. Forgotten everything. Forgot for a second I had a very different life. I had a drink. I had five drinks or six. Seven? I left my purse at the table and smoked a cigarette on the beach. Two cigarettes. Three?

I was Rebecca. I was separate from Archer. For the first time as a mother. I stayed out late. I came home and didn't whisper outside Archer's door. I made noise. I sang. I snored all night. I slept in.

The next day, on the way home I called. "How's he doing?" "He's fine." And so was I. Fine without him. A bit of a relief, actually. A bit of a shock. And guilt washed over me. Guilt for not missing him like I thought I would. Guilt for forgetting my cell phone and for dancing all night at the wedding and getting drunk and smoking a few cigarettes on the beach. Guilt for enjoying myself separate of my child. Guilt for insisting we take our time on the way home. "Let's get brunch at Lulus." "Let's take the bus to the train station!" "Let's stop in San Juan Capistrano for apps!" Guilt for loving my time without him, my alone time- freedom.

My guilt grew heavy as the train arrived in Oceanside and I got into my father's car. "Why didn't you bring Archer?" "He's at home with your mom."

When we arrived and I flung open the doors to see my little boy. I called his name, waved my hands and ran to him. Archer!!!

Then he looked up at me, smiled and crawled away. Toward the toys. "Whatever, Mama."

That's when I realized that it was stupid to feel guilty for enjoying my time away from him. It was foolish for me to think I should have pined and missed him and fretted over his well-being. I watched Archer as he went to his toys, babbling away, happily independent. Independent.

Maybe the umbilical chord can reach hundreds of miles. Thousands? But also and perhaps more importantly, maybe distance enables us to explore ourselves independent of one another, of our children... Maybe it's okay to take some time apart. Maybe it's okay to take some real time for me. On a train. Thoughts that don't involve Boudreaux's Butt Paste. Maybe once in a while, it's good to leave motherhood behind for a night on the town. Maybe it's more important than I thought.



Anonymous | 2:44 AM

congratulations !
I left zoƩ for the first time with her dad and a friend of my
for 10 days !!! imagine,... it was great to be myself again and feel the freedom !!

Susan D. | 4:39 AM

I totally need a non-mama weekend away. My daughter's 23 months old and I've been home with her every night. Fine, but I'd love to reconnect with myself the way you did. Lucky you!

Mom101 | 5:03 AM

It's not stupid to feel guilty at all (ahem, cough cough, look through my archives) for leaving him. But it is FANTASTIC that you realized you can be whole apart from him. The apart is only physical anyway. You're still his mama, no matter how mama--or un-mama--your behavior from time to time.

Glad you found you again.

Whirlwind | 5:42 AM

Wow, your post reminded me that I haven't enjoyed a night out with just my husband in a long time. Like almost 5 years. Sure we've gone out, but never more than a few hours.

Sure, my MIL will occassionaly take one or even two kids, but that still leaves me with the littlest one. And there have been the occasional hospitalizations that require an overnight stay, but it's not what I would consider a night out.

Hummm, I wonder if I could somehow swing a night out for our upcoming anniversary? Probably not as I think our 2 year old wore out her overnight visit pass until she turns 18!

macboudica | 6:07 AM

It is important. Very important. It is even healthy to sometimes have a little break. And the kids never seem to mind the unconditional spoiling at grandma's either. Plus it is nice to remember that while being a mom is overwhelming and wonderful and consuming, it is not the only thing you are. You define being a mom, it doesn't define you. Sometimes a little time away is what you need to realize that.

PetiteMommy | 6:29 AM

It has taken me what seems like forever to have this attitude of leaving for a few hours or a day without feeling guilty. Glad you had fun and were able to have time to yourself. It does wonders...

Anonymous | 6:38 AM

Wow...hard to believe that this is the first time you've been away from Archer. I think EVERY parent NEEDS to do this once in awhile (if they can.) It's so important that we remind ourselves of who we are as individuals and to remember how we enjoyed our lives before children entered the picture. If anything, I think this makes people better parents and helps keep everything in perspective. It's great you don't feel guilty about leaving Archer. Be thankful that you have family close enough so that you can do this once in awhile!

Glad you had a great weekend, GGC!

Kristen | 7:18 AM

It's great that Archer did so well on his own at 15 months, which can be a big separation anxiety age for some kids. But it's even better that you realized it's not only okay for you to be apart from him (physically, mentally, even emotionally) sometimes, but actually vital to who you are as an individual (and ultimately to who he is, too).

Sounds like you had a great time!

Anonymous | 7:59 AM

This post made me feel way better. I am going to a wedding middle Sept. for three days on my own and I am getting pretty nervous. They are pretty sturdy little guys, hey?

Anonymous | 8:26 AM

The first time is always full of anxiety. It was a huge deal for me to let Caleb go to my mom's overnight, but now I BEEEEGGGGG her to take him! In June Hubby and I spent 7 glorious days on Maui sans offspring. We drank way too much, slept a lot, and spent entire days laying on the beach reading. It was so nice for Hubby and I to reconnect and not worry about who is going to which child related chore. Caleb had a great time being totally spoiled by Nana, too.

Andrea | 9:12 AM

A healthy and happy YOU is as fundamentally important to being a good Mama as is the hugs and love and Boudreaux's Butt Paste. Not to mention his connecting to his grandparents is good for both him and for them. A winner all around. Glad you had fun. I've found little breaks now and again can help me appreciate who I am aside from Mama, who I am AS Mama, and my time with Gabe even more.

(Glad you got the computer replaced. I didn't want to start withdrawals.)

Christina | 2:23 PM

I've taken a few trips away from Cordy, and everytime I return, she usually gives me that nonchalant "Oh. Hey, there you are. Get me some milk, would you?"

I'm glad you got the chance to have some non-mommy time, though. And was that the bride's wedding dress?

Unknown | 3:37 PM

Wonderful, wonderful post.
You totally deserve that time to be Rebecca and to relaise that you can have it wihtout feeling desperate.
They will always be ok without you.
Last year I went to a musoc festival for 3 nights and had the best time of my life! I dint not miss my kids. I knew they were safe and happy and I had the best time fo my life. I was so ahppy to come home and see the again but they couldnt have cared less.

You look gorgeous in the pics and I adore the brides dress from your flickr pics.

kittenpie | 5:03 PM

Ah, I'm so glad you had a great time and I just love the pics of you. How freaking cute are you?! I so wish you lived here, but I suspect you are in the right place for you, so I won't be so selfish.

You're right, too, it IS important for us to take time, but hared to remember, being so caught up in the importance of the job at hand. I love it when we take a few hours to ourselves and reconnect. Sadly right now it happens not nearly enough, but eventually when we get our shit together, we are planning to institute date night.

Anonymous | 6:06 PM

i went away for 4 days on my own to a friend's wedding (flew cross country) last month. from what i heard, my son didn't miss me at all. *sniff*.

it was really nice to get away though!!! i was fortunate enough to have my mom and hubby look after him the entire time. it really made a difference knowing that he was in such good hands, so i wasn't worried about him at all and was able to have fun without constantly wondering if my baby was okay or not. and i'm sure with you, having archer with people you entirely entirely trust made your trip even sweeter and carefree.

glad you had a great time!

Unknown | 6:11 PM

that was a refreshing post.

Jenn | 12:16 PM

Good for you!! And isn't that "sleepin in" part just glorious!!!


YES! I slept until 11:00 and it was HEAVEN. Complete.

Gina | 1:30 PM

This is an honest post! I love it! I am so glad you got away completely! And sleeping in... what a dream come true! I look forward to a time like this in the near future! Thanks for the inspiration and reminder that they are independent... and they ARE having fun without us.