We’re going on a mini vacation this weekend, and the stars must have been aligned just right tonight to get my little one to bed in 15 minutes and me out the door for some last minute vacation shopping. I got in the car, rolled my windows down, and backed out of the driveway, all in silence. It felt a little strange to not see the top of a little head in the back, or to have someone to buckle in (more like wrangle in these days). It was quiet and quick.
I got to my first destination and felt so strange just walking from my car to the store – no baby to unbuckle, no baby to wrap on my back, no last minute diaper changes. I no longer dawdle and look slowly at things, but have the rapid pace of a mama with a baby who might lose interest any second. I bought my things and was off to my next destination.
It’s not that I never get time alone, it’s that the time alone is suddenly so profound to me. It’s quiet and empty; I see the world the same way but there’s no one to share it with; there’s no one to turn to and point out the balloons, or to hunt down the baby squealing with delight because I know how happy it’ll make my son to see. It’s profoundly different in small ways, like I’m a complete puzzle with some very important pieces missing. In my second store, I was surrounded by teenagers; it reminded me of the luxurious days of being able to get up and go without a second thought about naptime or anything. I vaguely remember those days, but miss them even less.
I had the luxury of making an extra stop for one or two items because there wasn’t a bedtime to worry about or a baby to unbuckle and then re-buckle a few minutes later. It was so weird to be so quick, but absolutely not worth it. It’s nice to have time alone, but I always miss my little buddy on my errand trips. He really is all of my missing pieces.