Saturday, July 9, 2011

Separation Anxiety's of A Career Mommy

Early summer of 1987. My husband then, ex husband now, was the manager of a local grocery store chain. He came home and announced there was to be a Manager's meeting in a few weeks. It was going to be held in Jacksonville, Florida. We would leave on a Friday and come back late that Sunday. Essentially a whole weekend. Spouses were expected to attend. The picture of family togetherness and all. But not children. Togetherness that would not involve children.

My first born was just over a year old. We had never been separated. My parents lived in the same town. But Joshua had never spent a night away from home. Away from me. Even with my parents. Ever. Upon this news of a weekend at the beach, I should have been excited. I should have reveled in a weekend away. A weekend paid in full. Hotel, meals and the beach. The works! Paid.

I was a wreck. I couldn't imagine leaving my baby anywhere. Not overnight anyway. I talked to my parents, who said of course, they would love to keep Joshua for the weekend. I knew there was no safer place for him to be. With no other people could he get better care or more love. I began the job of trying to psyche myself out. Convince myself what fun we would have, how much I deserved this, and how much I probably needed it. The time away. The quiet. The grown-up time.

I did a fairly good job on myself I thought. I was hyped. I went shopping and bought some new clothes. A new bathing suit. Some cute sandals. I was ready. The initial weepies were gone. I was going to be fine.

We drove down to Jacksonville, scheduled to arrive in time for a late supper out with everyone attending. All the big wigs and their wives. We pull up to the hotel, we find our room, and unload our bags. We shower, change for supper and are ready to go. I suddenly feel 24 years old again, not so much like a 24 hour mommy. I'm all dressed up and feeling good.

As the supper proceeds, with a lot of introductions and talking, some drinking, everyone gets a little looser. The men have meetings all day Saturday and the women, us wives, are discussing what we'll do all day long. Hitting the beach sounds grand! What fun that sounds like! I'm picturing me in my new bathing suit, lounging in beach chairs, drinking some fruity drinks with umbrellas in the glasses, soaking up some sun rays.

When all of a sudden, one of the women turns to me and says, you're going to have so much fun with your little one on the beach tomorrow! I looked at her, not quite thinking I was following her end of the conversation right. I said, "I do have a little one, but he's not here". She said, "Oh, what shame, he would have had such fun discovering the waves". To this day, I can remember my mouth moving, but my voice sounding like the teacher on Charlie Brown. My words coming out in slow motion, and sounding like  "wah, wah wha wha wah"....unintelligible sounds. My heart started pounding faster than is the limit for normalcy. And I asked the dreaded question, "I thought we were supposed to leave our children at home?" She said "No, not that I know of, we all brought our children with us. We wondered where yours was before dinner, since we have a prearranged sitter for them all in another hotel room".

I have no idea how I made it through supper. My food felt like lead in my mouth. I could barely chew. Much less make social conversation. The arranged seating separated my ex and myself. Which was a God send for him. I think I would have stabbed him. Repeatedly. Under the table. With my fork. Had I been near him. One of his many plans over the years that would go horribly South for him. I'm sure the way the weekend went, was no where near, where he had intended, when at first he decided to mislead me. For his benefit.

Somehow dinner was finally over. Much to my ex's dismay I am sure. He was already in pain. From all the daggers I had been shooting through my eyes, across the table, to his entire body throughout supper. But the real pain was yet to come. When we got back to our hotel room, all hell broke loose. It was a dang wonder the police weren't called for domestic dispute. I went crazy on his behind. For two hours. And then, I cried. For another two hours. Needless to say, there was no "grown up" time for us that Friday night. Or the entire weekend for that matter.

And when I thought I could not cry anymore, the next day was here, and all of those women were on the beach with their children, some babies, and that was to be my day. To watch all of them playing in the waves, splashing, and laughing at their children's antics. All day long. It was one of the most awful days in my memory bank to date. I wanted to go home so badly. To go home, get my baby, and hold him as tight as I could.

I have a new friend, who took a weekend off. This weekend. A much needed (she thought) weekend to herself. To be a woman, not just a mommy. But all day today, I have watched her vast need to still be a Mommy, no matter where she is today. And I sure can identify.

I'm not much different myself.  I'm still that mommy. The one who misses her children immensely when everyone is not in place. I always think I need the break. The alone time. The grown up time. And when it gets here, I have no idea what to do with myself. Well, I do for a little while. But after a few hours, I'm ready for the normal stuff again.

Zach will be gone a week. Today is day one. A week of no funny stories, funny faces, no demonstrated, cracked out jokes.

But what I should be thankful for repeating myself five times. No washing five more loads of clothes than I will have to this week, no stinky shoes left in the middle of the floor, and no fussing about chores he forgot to do. And a clean house! Yeah! A clean house. All that's something...isn't it? Nah, not really.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims


  1. College is two years away for Sara. While Sam is already trying to talk her into letting him have her room, I am already dreading the worrying about her that I am sure to do. It nags me to see her drive out of my am I going to deal with her driving in another state? I wonder if that was my subconcious reason for having Sam so late...

  2. Zachary was THE most wonderful surprise. Josh was to be it all along. I was in a horrible marriage with an alcoholic. And on a a brief two year dry out period for him, my marriage seemed as if it might survive and Zachary was born. It was as unreal then, and it has been lifesaving for me since Joshua turned 18 and moved out. Why we worry about what is not here yet, I do not know...but we do. And it's coming...