This past weekend I went on a trip with a couple of girlfriends. It's a tradition that we have carried for years but had been on hiatus with the birth of The Tot. This was also the first time I had been away from the Tot for more than just an overnight. Prior to the trip, I had an unlimited amount of anxiety. Would they be okay on their own? Would he miss me? Would the Husband be able to handle it?
It was a fun trip. A combination of jokes, laughs, long talks and the retelling of old stories with just a dab of homesickness swirled in. It was hard not to miss my Tot as good a time as I was having. I had the added struggling of being with two old friends who do not have their own children, probably making it hard for them to understand the emptiness I felt at being away. But the break was good and the trip was fun.
I made the return trip in record time and all I could think during the last leg was how much sooner I would get to see my Tot. The sound of excited squealing as I came through the door has got to be one of the best sounds ever. It was ALMOST worth the absence just to hear his giggles. I couldn't wait to hug him and show him all of the souvenirs I had brought back. It felt great to be home.
However, I realized quickly that though I had been missed, in my absence I had been relegated to "outsider". Not only had the Husband done a bang-up job of caring for the Tot (I knew he would), but they had formed their own little group of which I was not a member. They were the "in-crowd" and I was not included. They had all of these new games to play and routines that I was unfamiliar with. I was surprised by a feeling of exclusion and just a tiny pinch of jealousy at all I had missed by being away for such a short time. The joy at seeing them so close, bonded thick as thieves, quickly eradicated any sadness I might have felt.
Seeing them together, rolling on the floor, laughing at some joke or sound or face, I realized that this must be some of what the Husband feels every day when he comes home. Each time he says "Let's do..." and I respond with "No, we do it this way now..." or when he arrives right in the middle of some game or story. For so long, I felt that he was the one to be envied. The one with the escape hatch. The freedom to go to the store, eat lunch, run errands, all while being unencumbered by a stroller or diaper bag. But now I know the truth - I am the one to be envied. I am always a member of the "in-crowd".
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