With all the hullabaloo over the Intel ISEF, I haven't managed to tell you about my homecoming from my trip without Minnow. When I left the subject last, I was about to go to bed on my night alone in a hotel room. I hadn't freaked out since the airport. In the morning, I gave Fish a quick call after he'd dropped Minnow off at daycare. He said that they'd done pretty well, Minnow had slept solidly from 1-5 am (and some before that), but hadn't slept much because he was so worried about sleeping through her cries. I felt relieved that at least someone had gotten some sleep, and I headed off to my intense day of judging with a light heart. Things were going pretty well for me until it got to be about 5:30 pm - about the time I normally pick Minnow up from daycare. By this time I was getting engorged, and I wouldn't have time to pump until I got to the airport. And I was really starting to miss Minnow. Would she think that I had abandoned her if I wasn't home a second evening in a row?
The ride to the airport, pumping and dumping in a bathroom stall, a quick check-in phone call with Fish (things are fine, he assured me), and an interminable wait for the flight boarding - all seemed devastatingly long. I just wanted to be home, and I was starting to feel physically ill. (Actually the stomach-ache took two days to abate, so I was physically ill.) The flight seemed to take forever, and by the time the plane landed and they let us turn on our cell phones, all I could do was stare at the camera phone pictures of Minnow as I waited for the plane to empty ahead of me. Then, finally, I was free to get in my car and head home (I may have sped a little).
When I arrived home, Minnow was asleep in Fish's arms in the rocking chair in her room. I changed into jammies, climbed into bed, and Fish brought her into me -- to cuddle in my arms. She slept for a while, all curled up against the body, cradled by the crook of my arm -- and I felt so released, so happy -- my baby was safe and I was home with her, where I belonged. After a while, she woke and nursed and we both fell into a deep sleep.
For the last few days she has been a bit clingy, wanting to nurse a lot, and wanting to be held me and no one else. We think some teething may be exacerbating things, but I find myself really appreciating the cuddles more than I did before. I'm also able to engage more fully in her playtime and really relax and just enjoy the quiet rhythm of toddler-centric days.
It's probably a combination of the reunion and the stress-release of the end of the semester, but it's a good combination and I hope I'm able to keep this warm fuzzy feeling for a long while. Maybe I'll make an end-of-year solo trip a tradition, as a way of marking the break between the hectic school year and a more relaxed, child-centric summer. If I'm ready to leave Minnow again by then...
To top things off, we had a really wonderful non-mother's day Sunday today. We went strawberry picking!
Sounds tough being away but great once you returned. It's very good that you're able to relax a bit, engage fully in playing with her, and enjoy the time when she wants to cuddle.