One Weekend, No Baby
Not long ago my partner and I had the opportunity to fly to the West Coast for a weekend. We would be gone less than two days, and with that in mind, we decided to leave the Little Mistress with her grandparents. The grandparents got unrestricted access to their grandchild, the baby got spoiled rotten, and we got to have a 48-hour stretch of time without a bottle, a diaper, or knowing having sex was going to mean pain in the morning when the baby woke up because we lost an hour of sleep.
A baby-free weekend: it boggled the mind. A trip through airport security without a stroller or knowing that I'd get pulled out for a more thorough check because of the cans of formula in my carry-on (I'm not sure why, but it happened seven times in 2009). Not having a baby in my lap in an already crowded airplane seat. Not having to keep said baby entertained for seven hours—something that had become increasingly more challenging the older and more mobile she got. Not having to install a car seat in the rental car. No emergency trips to Target for diapers or drop-ins. It sounded like heaven.
As the grandparents are wonderful people, and obviously kept one of us alive until we left for college and became responsible for doing it ourselves, my partner and I had no qualms about leaving her. There might have been a few tears shed (mine and the Little Mistress's), and several second thoughts about just bringing her (mine and my partner's) and a phone call the second the plane landed (guilty), but leaving went smoothly.
On the plane we didn't have seats together (not our intention, but we hadn't pre-booked our exact seats). My husband slept, and I, enjoying my empty lap, whiled away the hours with my book, my iPod, and the complimentary soda. I think it truly illustrates how different my life is with a child that I found the seven hours flying from east coast to west a luxurious chunk of self-indulgent time.
It felt odd to meet up once off the plane and just walk out of the airport without luggage beyond our carry-ons. We picked up the rental car, programmed in the hotel and left without having to install an unfamiliar car seat. We checked into the hotel without needing to confirm that there was a crib ready, and we were able to just enjoy checking out the room without mentally calculating if there was anything that needed baby proofing.
I lay down on the king-sized bed and stretched in pleasure, lost in a reverie of our plans for our time in California.
"The Little Mistress isn't here," I said suddenly, sitting up.
"It's so weird," my husband replied as he glanced out of the window at the strong afternoon California sun.
While it might seem like a bad romance novel or predictable rom-com, that exchange triggered something in both of us. The California sun, the La Brea Tar Pits (our planned excursion for the afternoon), and our daughter were all forgotten as the reality of not having our daughter really hit us. Clothes were tugged off and tossed aside and a fast bout of sex was suddenly all either of us cared about; fast because it had been at least a week, but probably longer.
We followed up our bout of sex with a long uninterrupted nap (something I hadn't really had the pleasure of doing in months). When I awoke, my husband was already up and happily surfing the web. I took a book into the bathroom and climbed into the tub with every intention of not getting out until my skin resembled a prune. My husband came in and suggested showering together, as he wanted to get clean before dinner and the concert. This was something we hadn't done since the pregnancy, and I'd forgotten how intimate it can be to wash your partner's hair and to physically take care of your partner in non-sexual intimate ways.