Tuesday, February 24, 2015

First Weekend Away

I waited 13 months to spend even a single night away from you. It's not that I had been avoiding it; but I also hadn't gone out of my way to make it happen. Daddy had gone out of town for work once when you were just a little baby. I don't remember exactly when it was, but I know it was in that sweet spot before my return to work but after I had already gotten the hang of this mom thing. Taking care of you was my only job, and even then it was still hard to do alone for those two days. These days, I'm back at work full-time, you go to school 40 hours per week, and Daddy and I split the chores and errands pretty well. We have a pretty good routine down at this point. So I was a little wary of rocking the boat and sticking Daddy with 100% of the responsibility for four whole days and nights. I knew he could do it, but I knew it'd be hard to juggle his more vigorous work schedule while giving you the attention you deserve without me around for reinforcement.

But I've wanted to go to this conference for, like, a year. I know that sounds ridiculous. It's a conference; not a vacation! The APTA's Combined Sections Meeting is an annual conference that I've always wanted to attend. The conference kicks off with a big ceremony, a large part of which is devoted to honoring the newly certified specialists in our profession. This year, that includes me. I knew if there was a year to participate in this conference, this was it. Daddy and I talked about it months ago, and as much as he wanted to support me on it, he wasn't sure how we could swing it financially. Well. I'm a firm believer that if you want something badly enough and it's truly meant to happen, it will work out somehow. Sure enough, my work agreed to pay for the course registration, I found a cheap flight and a free place to stay, and I was granted "education leave" so I didn't have to use my vacation time. It was all falling into place, but I still hesitated. Daddy not only agreed to help; he encouraged me to go. He seemed eager to have some Daddy-daughter time, but also he knew this was important to me.

I started writing this sitting at the gate, and now I'm on my first (of two...stupid USAirways) flight to Indianapolis. I've had lots of feelings over the last couple of days. I cried dropping you off at school yesterday (something I haven't done in months) and I've been a little weepy ever since. I'm sad that I'm going to miss you, but I'm more worried that this time apart will kill our breastfeeding relationship. I know you'd be fine with that; you'd adapt quickly. I just don't know if I'm ready for it. I've had lots of feelings, but there is one feeling that I haven't experienced, though, and that's guilt.

This is huge for me, as I tend to "feel bad" about things pretty often. I'm a very sensitive person, and I take virtually everything to heart, even if it's not my place to do so. Taking you to school for the first time seven months ago was no exception. I went back to work because I wanted to. I kept telling myself that school would be good for you (and it is), but deep down I wish I had it in me to stay home with you forever. I felt selfish, and that made me feel bad. I often feel guilty when I have things that I want that don't include you, like a night out. But my head always wins over my heart, and I know it's best for all three of us to have our own lives.

I think the reason this trip was somehow exempt from my routine guilt trips is because I knew I was setting a good example for you. It's not often that one gets to spend so much time developing not only their career, but themselves as well. I'm required by law to take 30 hours of continuing education every two years in order to maintain my license, but I'm "encouraged" to take online courses or day-long courses over the weekend. This is not exclusive to my clinic; in today's healthcare climate, we're all expected to do more with less, and education is consistent with that trend. I realize that this may be one of the last opportunities I have to participate in something like this, and I'm glad I went for it.

Even though I didn't feel guilty, I did feel plenty of other negative emotions; all of these feels, however, were negated by love. Your daddy could have easily said that being a single dad for nearly a week was too much to handle with his work schedule right now. He could have easily said that even though I found a way to do this affordably, that we should be saving that money to spend as a family instead. But he did neither of those things. He supports me unconditionally because that's what love is.

I tell you all the time that your daddy is the best, and I really mean that. We're so lucky to have someone who loves us so much and is always willing to make compromises and sacrifices to make us happy. I try to do the same for him, and I hope you'll do the same for the people you love.

Daddy-daughter time, almost seven months ago

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