Book a girls’ weekend. Forty-eight hours of kidless wonder to reprieve your college days and give a last hurrah for the final bachelorette. Only casually consult with your husband; remain utterly oblivious to necessity of his solo parenting after an arduous week at the office. Count down t-months, weeks, days with your girls instead.
Stubbornly ignore the acrobatical logistics required to absent a nursing mother and primary caregiver from her two young children for two nights and two days. Cram all necessary packing into 45 minutes.
Marvel at one small suitcase to carry on. Deliberately forget Cheerios, sippy cups, board books, and back-up outfits for plane. Chortle with delight at the airy weightlessness of your purse.
Kiss babies and husband goodbye in a flurry. Ignore heart’s momentary flutter as two adorable boys bounce up and down in one crib giggling as you go. Fly out the door, roll down the windows, crank up the music, squeal out of the driveway. Audibly whoop as you sail towards the interstate with nary a car seat in sight.
Thrill at the ease of security without a stroller. Slip off only one pair of shoes. Happily raise your arms in the new x-ray screening machine that must be avoided while pregnant or dragging small children in tow.
Rediscover the freedom of choosing anything you want for dinner. Choose junk food. Grab only one napkin instead of the usual just-in-case-they-spill-everything stack. Silently apologize to acres of forests your offspring must have clear-cut over the years.
Go to the restroom unaccompanied. Deliberately ignore the availability and location of changing tables. Flush the toilet without coaching anyone about the potential loudness of the potty.
Easily locate a single open chair at the crowded terminal gate. Discover with amazement that human race has become even more addicted to gadgets since the last time you had five free minutes to notice. Cease all judgment with realization that you have your own gadget and can now read any of the 17 novels you’re been meaning to catch up on. Settle into uncomfortable plastic chair with large grin.
Ignore presence of small children at the gate. PARTICULARLY CRYING CHILDREN. ESPECIALLY CUTE CRYING CHILDREN. Steal page from stereotypical male response by thinking about baseball instead. Baseball baseball baseball baseball.
Watch formerly-adorable crying children dissolve into tantruming terrors while exasperated father wrestles them into a stroller. Shudder. Forget baseball.
Pick a window seat. Share view with no one. Enjoy ease of take-off without nursing a screaming, sweaty baby. Close eyes. Pretend to sleep. Love life.
Contemplate ordering wine with beverage service. Refrain with sigh when you remember you still have to pump before going to bed. Baseball baseball baseball.
Dive into new book to celebrate sheer quietness of airplane cabin. Discover 15 pages into story that plot line suggests tearful transformation of main character from angst-ridden new mother to wise sage weathered by tragedy that befalls her child. Baseball baseball.
Read heart-wrenching line about realization that mothering love is the fiercest, deepest love. BASEBALL.
Instantly recall cherubic, chubby grins on bouncing brothers. BASEBALL.
Unsuccessfully ignore overactive imagination’s flash of sentimental snapshots of adorable boys enjoying weekend at home with daddy, undoubtedly achieving adorable and significant milestones that their absentee mother will never get to revisit. BASEBALL!
Curse overactive imagination. Set down book, stare out window. Miss them. Gnawingly.
Remember, once again, for the umpteenth time.
That a vocation isn’t something you can leave behind.
That a calling isn’t as easy to set aside as the contents of a diaper bag.
That mothering is a way of being in the world, no matter where in the world you go.
That you can still enjoy a perfectly wonderful weekend with your girls, though all the while your heart will keep reaching back to the pieces of itself you left behind.
That even when you’re back with the ones who knew you before, it’s impossible to forget who you’ve become.