There are a lot of things that we are supposed to say in order not to seem like total sociopaths. I am supposed to say things like “I love my parents,” or, “I would die for the people in my family,” or “excuse me” if I fart. To say anything different would make me look like a total psycho. As the mother of a child the one thing I *really* should be saying is “I miss my child desperately when I am away because she is the joy of my life and the light of my loins.” Okay but here is the thing, I was just gone for five days from The Munch – and I am pretty sure I didn’t miss her at all.
Ummmm is that bad? Does that make me a terrible person? I didn’t even really think about Munch that much when I was gone either. Holy crap – that makes me a worse person doesn’t it. Fuck. I am not doing well right now. Wait… wait for it… okay breathe… it actually felt awesome not to think about or miss my child. Shit.
For the first 15 months of Munch’s life I was basically with her every minute of every day. Trust me. Read my blog during those early years and there is a meticulous account of every detail, including the consistency of her feces once food was introduced. But now that The Munch is four, there is more autonomy for us both. We have our own lives separate from each other. Munch goes to school, she has a babysitter, she spends time with family… Yet even though I do have physical freedom in my everyday life – what I don’t have is mental freedom. I am always having to think about where she is, who is picking her up, what food she has, if she is wearing the right leotard, does she have her rain coat, is there an extra pair of shoes in her bag, and are they the right fucking shoes because my kid is both neurotic and crazy.
PS…. I also didn’t miss the tantrums, the yelling in my face about not giving her a 3rd piece of chocolate, the shoe throwing, the stink eye, the refusal to get dressed in warm clothes… you know, the basic toddler rage or a developing human.
I don’t go away that often, so those days where I could just think about me and my needs were seriously epic. I was hundreds of miles away from Munch, and having a break from being responsible for her was as satisfying as burping after drinking soda too fast. It made me realize just how emotionally taxing it is to always have someone else on your mind. To be constantly worrying about them, and wanting to make sure they are okay. It is like Munch is a fascist dictator of my brain and heart. But it is not her fault! Well sort of, because she is really demanding…. But I blame the biological and psychological bond of motherhood more because holy fuck is it intense. Thanks a lot nature!
On day three, The Munch was missing me so I talked to her on the phone. She was crying and telling me she wanted me to come back – but I got her laughing so then she was fine. Although I was momentarily sad that Munch was sad, it was also amazing talking to her on the phone because I never really do that either. There aren’t a lot of opportunities because we aren’t usually away from each other for that long. Yet having a phone call with my kid only further reinforced the truth of how the physical separation between us is only increasing as she ages. The attachment of those baby years is no longer, and now our relationship will have to withstand distance. Munch and are only going to grow farther apart because her life will take her away from me at times, as will mine. We can’t be together every moment of every day, so the journey then turns into staying emotionally connected even when we are not in each other’s faces.
There is a certain beauty of loving someone so much you yearn for them. The Munch missed me because I have been the anchor of her life, and I represent so much in terms of love, safety, and security. Yet soon The Munch will crave independence, and want to get away from me. It is probably then that I will miss her desperately and call crying, but she will be like “Ugh… thank god I am away from my mom so she can stop fucking writing about me for five minutes.” But fuck you future Munch because I will write about that phone call so you can’t escape me!
When I got home Munch was sooooo happy to see me that it actually made me tear up. She kept hugging and kissing me – telling me how much she loved me. I felt so honored to mean so much to this precious person. I was totally humbled by how much I adored her, and how lucky I was to have this tiny tyrannical human in my life. I held Munch in my arms and knew that every moment, even the hardest ones, were totally profound because of the depth of our love. Then of course she got mad at me because I wouldn’t let her watch “My Little Pony,” and I started planning my next trip.