Mamas on Bedrest: I was left behind

February 21st, 2012

“We forgot Brown Bear at Grandma’s house”

As I looked at the text, my heart sank. My husband and children flew to my husband’s hometown to celebrate my mother in law’s 70th birthday. I had another obligation, so for the first time in their lives, my children traveled without me. I did all that I could to make sure that they had everything they needed. But as they packed for the return trip, Brown Bear got lost in the bed sheets and left behind.

As any parent knows, the loss of a beloved “Lovie” can be catastrophic. Think of the Peanuts character Linus and his blanket and you’ll know exactly what I mean. I was pretty sure that they’d make it home on the flight okay, but my greatest concern lay in trying to get this child to sleep tonight. I called my mother in law and she was already heading out the door to the FedEX store.

“Hold on,” I said. “It’s President’s Day. Let’s make sure they’re shipping out.”

So she held on one line while I used my cell phone to see if FedEX was shipping. They were and off she went. She called me back about half an hour later to let me know that Brown Bear was on his way-overnight express!

With potential catastrophe averted, I sat down with a sigh. The next thing I knew, I was sobbing. How was my son going to make it through the flight without Brown Bear? Would he be scared? Would he cry? At one month shy of 6 years old, I knew in my head that he’d make it just fine. But in my heart, I was nervous. My son would be upset and there he’d be, without Brown Bear-and without me.The tears streamed down my face. This would be the first time ever that my son would be or could be in distress and I wouldn’t be there to make it all better. Instead, I was home alone, “working” (but not getting damned thing done!).

I have traveled before and left the children home with my husband. They’ve always been fine. We’ve traveled together the three of us since they were both babies (My husband was usually off on one business trip or another.). But never have they ventured on a trip without me. We don’t have family close by, so weekends at Grandma’s or Mimmie’s is out of the question. My daughter has just started having sleep over parties, yet even when she’s gone, I have my son at home. This was the first time that they were both gone. It is the strangest feeling to be “left behind.”

My house is eerily quite without the banter and bickering of my children. My son’s drums reside beside my desk and although I often have to shout to make him stop playing while I am on the computer, it’s a clanging that I am quite used to. Last night when I returned from my trip, I entered the house and the silence was almost deafening. There was no one there to greet me when I returned. And as I locked up and went to bed, I realized it was the first time I had slept in our house alone since before my daughter was born in 2002.

I knew the day would come when my children would leave, even temporarily, but my sadness at their absence surprised me. Even at the ages of 9 and 6, this trip was a stark reminder that my days of “mothering” are speeding by and one day in the not so distant future, I will wave good bye as my children head off to write their own stories of their lives.

So here I sit, at 11:25 pm writing a blog that should have been posted 12 hours ago. When they arrived, amidst the hugs and excitement, I learned that my daughter had lent her brother “Bear” (her bear) to hold on the plane. Another “friend” is sleeping-in for Brown Bear tonight. Every one, family and faux furry alike, are pitching in to get my son through this night. Brown Bear’s ETA is “before 3pm” tomorrow, so if all goes well, he’ll be in the car when I pick my son up at school.

I haven’t heard a peep from my son’s room. My guess is that the excitement of the day has worn him out and even though Brown Bear is temporarily MIA, the comfort of being home, in his own room, in his own bed and with his “friends” is mitigating any sadness he may feel over Brown Bear’s absence.

As for me, I am relieved to have my family home. I know that this is just the beginning. I have sleep overs, overnight camps and college to look forward to and hopefully they will all prepare me for the day when my children leave me behind-for good.

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