I may have participated in the Inaugural Booby Trap Challenge, but if we’re gonna be really real here, it also marked something that proved to be even more trying – my first weekend away from Abby!
After posting my race recaps, I had a few messages and emails come in about how I handled the time away (hubs says Abby did just fine, which I was very happy about) so I thought I’d write a post with a few thoughts/tips for other mamas in similar circumstances.
Skip the Goodbyes
I planned out and executed “the getaway” perfectly! After putting Abby back to bed at 2:45 AM, I readied my gear, packed up the car, and was pulling out of the driveway by 3:20. Sure, it was dark, but that meant no traffic for my 4.5 hour drive, and at least a few hours of guaranteed sleep for both Abby and hubs. If I had had to say goodbye, I probably would have procrastinated leaving, or worse yet, started to consider not going (hubs had a cold and I was thinking, up to the last few hours before I left – maybe I should skip the weekend and stay home with them). Thankfully, those quiet early hours convinced me that this was the right decision and that we would all be fine…and we were!
Have Everything Stocked/Ready
Yes, hubs has a car, and is fully capable of taking a trip to the store, but to make everyone’s lives easier, I was more than happy to make sure Abby’s food and snack cabinet were fully stocked, and that her clothes and diapers were prepped and ready. This was probably more for my own peace of mind, to be sure she actually ate the right things (save for the donut pic hub staged on Facebook) and was appropriately dressed.
Once I was in Jacksonville, I was able to do several things I had not done in months – quietly wander the aisles of Trader Joes, the shops of St. Johns Town Center, and even eat at Chipotle with no other companion than my smartphone. It was quiet, and calm. It was weird…and I still visited the Disney Store to buy her souvenirs/Valentine’s gifts – but those solitary moments (before I met up with the group for our race weekend events) reminded me of my life, pre-Abby. It wasn’t really good, or bad, but just contemplative, and introspective.
When it was time to meet up with my weekend roommates, and partake in our events (parties, races, and everything in between), I was able to drink one more drink (haha), go to bed when I felt like it, and only worry about myself. It was, again, not a particularly good or bad feeling – I felt like I was missing my lil sidekick – but it was still worth it. Remembering my previous life was weird, and felt far away – yet, it also reminded me about how much those elements were still a part of my life.
The only actual negative part about the weekend was the need for me to tote around a manual breast pump. Abby still nurses, but doesn’t really take bottles, so I had not pumped in 8ish months, other than here and there before a long run. I didn’t carry it in my purse when we went out, and it was pretty much sufficient to just pump 3-4 times during the day, but post-26.2, I really should have popped that thing in my checked bag because waiting for the rest of our team to cross the finish line was painful! Hah! Lesson learned…plus, I guess it enhanced my look at the VIP Party, haha!
But, I digress…
When I returned on Monday mid-morning (after leaving JAX at the much more reasonable hour of 5:30 AM), Abby was in hubs’ office. I snuck in, changed clothes, put a few things away, then saw that her diaper was being changed. I crept up behind hubs and peeked out at Abby, as she was laying on the changing table.
Her eyes lit up as she popped into upright position, and started waving both her hands, excitedly. I helped her lay back down for a moment, to finish her diaper change, then lifted her up and I got the BEST HUG ever! She kissed my nose and wrapped her arms around my neck saying, “Mama! Mama! Mama!” as my heart melted into a pile of goo.
That reaction was worth all the fleeting moments of emotion, driving through the night, and the numerous occasions that I had to stop myself from telling another Abby story at the social events over the weekend. There just aren’t words to describe that kind of love.