A 3 Year Old’s Goodbye

I’m currently sitting in the airport which is a place I haven’t been in quite some time. I’m traveling for work, making my way to a 6 day training which will end with some new certifications and knowledge about how to better support my team.

6 days. With an additional day devoted to travel. It’s the longest time I’ve ever been away from my daughter and I’ve been having a hard time with it. 6 days without bedtime stories and her little feet climbing up the side of my bed in the morning. 6 days without our car ride conversations about sunrises and sunsets, about which friends we like and which friends we don’t like this week. 6 days where I choose the seemingly selfish path of self-improvement over my family.

It is hard to get a three and a half year old through daily routines with a partner, let alone without. I’ve signed my husband up for a 6 day solo-struggle knowing exactly what I ask of him. I’m fortunate. He is the most gracious supporter, willingly signing up for the task and focusing our time together leading up to the flight pouring into me with words of confidence, truth, love, and encouragement. But what does a trip like this look like to a child?

A pre-preschooler doesn’t understand self-improvement or work trips. Time doesn’t quite make sense (“Is it tomorrow today?”). Mom is supposed to be home. I think about our FaceTime calls throughout the coming week and I get that tight pit in my stomach anticipating the inevitable questions from her.

We started talking about this trip about a week ago, trying to prepare her. When we first introduced the idea, she lifted her big doe eyes and squeaked, “But who will stay with me?”

I wasn’t prepared for what my little carbon copy told me this morning as I was packing up my bags. She looked at me with the sweetest demeanor standing next to her father and said,

“You’re not pretty today.”

Hahaha, aren’t kids are the worst?  They have this incredible knack for knocking you down. Are you feeling like a needed member of the family and that things may fall apart without you? Fat chance. Your kid is already planning her daddy daughter movie nights and is primarily concerned with how many pieces of gum she can consume before the day is over. Little shit.

But dang, do I love her. I already miss her. All of her sweetness and all of her sour.

#TBT

Tonight I arrived home from a two-day work trip in Massachusetts after this sweet baby had already gone to bed.

I’m exhausted but I find myself craving her sleepy dead weight on my chest. So much so that I will tiptoe into her room, slide around the creaky spots in the floor, and peer over her crib rail to imagine it a little better.

That steady, slow breathing. The unconscious shifting of weight.

Until tomorrow morning, I’ll let the sleeping beauty be and appreciate her from her afar but not without a sneak and a peek and a #TBT.