Before Dory, I laughed (gently, but... still) at stories of moms out on the town, childless. O vey! they made such a big deal of it. Seriously? You call a grandparent or pay a stand-in, put on some clothes and you GO. Easy. What's the hold-up? I even laughed over the wife of a friend who had to be dragged to the door, but then acted like she was on a work-release program from prison. Sure, she was going back, but she was out now.
Yep. Just a few more of my pre-mama words I have officially chopped up, sauteed, put on a plate and eaten.
Matthew and I went out, Friday night, to see a movie with some friends. Can I just say, it is the strangest push-pull experience ever? I wanted SO MUCH to be with her and I wanted SO MUCH to be at this movie without her. Literally like being split in two. For anyone who hasn't had the experience, picture this: you want SO MUCH to vote for John McCain and yet you want SO MUCH to vote for Barack Obama. Can't do it, can you? Better yet, I know exactly how all those superheroes feel with their yeah, I want to save the world, but I'd also like to finish a meal. Hello Motherhood! How can you have such opposing desires simultaneously?
My mom gently insisted. Matthew gently guided me towards the door. The movie tickets in my pocket (to Twilight which I so wanted to see) helped pull me to the car. I went out, for several hours, without my baby.
And realized I had completely forgotten how to be around grown-ups. Anyone who greeted me, anyone who even looked at me funny, got a ninety-miles-an-hour "hello!" that went something like "hi! We-have-a-four-month-old-baby-who's-with-my-mom-and-this-is-my-first-time-away-from-her. Howareyou?"
Everyone heard this story. The guy standing at the soda fountain at Five Guys and A Burger. The guy at the bar at Calhouns who asked if I wanted a seat. The girl behind the bar. The woman in the movie theater bathroom who I almost knocked down coming out of the stall (it helped that I started the conversation by saying, as we both steadied ourselves, "Good thing we weren't driving!" followed by hysterical laughter). The teenager selling candy at the concession stand. No one was safe.
But I went. And I had a great time. It helped the movie was completely enthralling. The whole time I wiggled in my seat like a puppy on Christmas, while I kept my hand over the cell phone in my pocket, poised for flight should Mom call. I was ecstatic to have been out, seen a movie, visited with friends. AND I jumped out of the car and dashed into mom's house before the vehicle even came to a complete stop when we came back. I would have given a schizophrenic a headache.
But when I saw this face...
ah. That face. Worth every second of the push-pull, go-stay, babbling, blundering difficulty. Yes, Before Dory, this question was simple, not even a question. But how worth it. How weird to discover I'd rather be pulled in two, with her here, then one uncomplicated me, without her.
All of this to say, I owe yet another great-big, super-duper apology to all the moms out there who I've ever (gently or not) snickered at when I've heard of their dilemma in leaving their children for the first time. Also to all the moms I've (gently or not) laughed at for their twitchy, compulsive, semi-hysterical behavior. To you all, my deepest and sincerest apologies. The next time we're out together I'm buying the first round.
Though first I'll have to tell you that this-is-my-second-time-leaving-my-baby-with-my-mom-and-I'm-a-little-freaked-out-but howareyou?