This time last year hubby was considering going away for two nights on a conference. He had bought the ticket before our little boy was born but hadn’t booked a hotel because he was waiting to see where other people he knew would stay. Once the little man arrived it quickly became clear that him going away probably wouldn’t be a good idea. I was struggling to cope (see Becoming a Mum) and he would worry about me constantly and not enjoy or get anything out of the experience at all. Fortunately the conference was incredibly popular and he managed to get a refund on his ticket because they could sell it on, so we didn’t lose out financially. I felt guilty that he was missing out because of me, which didn’t help my mind set.
Anyway, one year on and things couldn’t be more different. He went on the conference a couple of weeks ago and I was absolutely fine! I was a bit tearful on the Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning because I was slightly worried about how I would get on, but nothing more than tearful. No great sobbing outbursts while wailing “please don’t go”, which would have been the case last year. When he left on the Wednesday I waved him off and had a frog in my throat, but I pulled myself together and just got on with it.
I worked on Wednesday, not a particularly busy day, but enough to keep me amused. Dinner time and bed time for the little one were remarkably calm, with him only seeming to question where Daddy was once, which I managed to casually brush aside and all was well. On Thursday morning my little boy asked “Da?” quite a few times and looked quizzically into our ensuite bathroom as if Daddy may have been hiding in there, but after being told that he would see Daddy tomorrow he seemed ok. He’s 15 months old, he doesn’t know what tomorrow is. I could have said you’ll see Daddy in a space ship and he’d have had the same response, but it made me feel better. The little one went off to Nanna’s just fine on Thursday morning and I again worked on Thursday. Thanks to the fantastic invention of Twitter I was able to follow what was going on at the conference and felt a little bit a part of it, which was fun (see my guest post at my Husband’s blog on this).
Thursday evening came and my little man seemed a bit more confused about the absence of Daddy. He ate his dinner well (although there was a slight gagging incident that I thought was going to result in us seeing all his dinner again, which I didn’t really want to have to deal with, but the disaster was averted!) and then afterwards he kept pointing at our wedding photos, looking longingly and saying “Da”. I felt sorry for him at this point because he didn’t understand. I again said you’ll see Daddy tomorrow but this time the “Da?” kept being repeated. I ignored it and the little fella got on and played and went to bed like a little angel again.
I should say at this point that it was only a few days before this that a full nights sleep had started to become a regular occurrence and for this I was extremely grateful. I am rubbish at getting up in the night. Firstly I’m really bad and actually realising I can hear crying and once that fact has dawned on me it then takes my body a while to respond without my husband saying to me “it’s your turn”. So if the little one had woken up during those two nights he would probably have had a moment of panic as he thought he’d been abandoned and then to his dismay his bleary eyed, Bambi-legged Mother would have appeared and he’d probably have screamed more because the person he really wanted to see would have been his favourite Da. Fortunately, that didn’t happen.
So, Friday morning arrived, still no Daddy despite much asking for him and many responses of “you’ll see him later”. We go out for the morning, back for lunch “Da?”, “later”. We go out for the afternoon, get back home and all the lights are still off in the house “Da?”, “soon hopefully” and then as if by magic the front door opens, Daddy appears and so do two huge smiles and a sigh of relief from me too.
I did it, I coped on my own for two whole days with no tears, no tantrums (from either of us), no panics, I was just unnervingly calm, organised and proud of myself. I know that to many this really isn’t an achievement. I have a friend who has a little one about five months younger than mine and her husband is currently away for at least four months on a submarine, with no contact. Her ability to cope astounds me and makes my survival story look even more ridiculous, but to me this is a big step and a year ago I really wouldn’t have managed it.