Gone, Baby. Gone.

This coming week marks a few VERY special occasions:

1) My daughter turns 1 on the 17th. (Holy Shit)

2)  America’s Best Dance Crew is back on MTV (Randy Jackson.  Mediocre Dancing.  Music I am too old for.  What’s not to love?)

3)  One of my best friends is getting married.  Sure, that’s a momentous occasion (yay marriage.) but the real occasion is that my husband and I are going away together.  Alone. For the First Time.  (simultaneous “Gulp!” and “Yay!”)

While the biggest occasion (besides the return of ABC, obvi) is my daughter’s first birthday, I am still in denial of the fact that my baby is no longer a baby, so I am going to ignore this for at least another week until I am forced to deal with this because 60 people, including both sets of Grandparents, will be at my house to celebrate said occasion.  But for now, denial all the way.  So, what I am going to talk about today is our impending trip sans baby.

I have been away from my daughter for a girls weekend or two, and my husband has also been away a few times.  We  have left her with a baby-sitter more than a few times, and she goes to daycare twice a week.  After all this, we are just now finally starting to be able to leave Lyla without tearful goodbyes, incessant crying, and guilt-ridden angst.  (If only my husband could stop his weeping!  Jeez!) But this weekend marks the first time that my husband and I will BOTH be away from Lyla at the same time for longer than a few hours.  In fact, we will both be away from her for a whole weekend. Cue the guilt, weeping and angst (of my husband of course).

While I am beyond excited at the thought of an adults-only weekend and some quality couple time with my husband (which I truly think is important) I am having a tough time getting over my fears at the thought of leaving my daughter.  My wonderful parents have been tricked agreed to come to LA to stay with Lyla while we are away, so I know she will be in good hands.  Hell, my parents raised me and I still have all my limbs and teeth and most of my dignity and self-respect.  My mom, while not of the typical pie-baking, holiday-sweater-wearing, round-cuddly-bosomed variety of grandmother, couldn’t be sweeter with her, and Lyla adores her loud laugh and funny dances.  My dad has the patience of a Buddhist monk on Valium –  an important trait to have when dealing with a one-year-old, but one that he unfortunately did not pass down to me.  No, when it comes to leaving my baby, it is not my parents that I am worried about… it’s my parents’ daughter.

If you have ever met me, have ever read my blog, or have even made it this far into this particular post… you may have started to suspect that I am a worrier.  I make no claims to the contrary.  In fact, I wear my particular brand of crazy  like a badge of honor (Well, at least THIS particular brand of crazy.  There are a lot of crazy things that I keep secret… like the fact that I keep a small pair of scissors next to my computer so I can trim individual split ends while writing. What?)  So that being said, I am going to go ahead and put my fears about leaving my daughter out there for the world to see.  Deep breath…

– I am afraid that my daughter will miss me and my husband, and cry for us the whole time until we come back, thus driving my parents to thoughts of suicide… or worse… to thoughts of never wanting to babysit her again.

– I am afraid that my daughter will not miss me and my husband and not cry for us at all.

– I am afraid that I will miss her and worry so much that I can’t even enjoy the weekend away.

– I am afraid that I will not miss her and not worry, but instead have so much fun that I don’t want to come home.

– I am slightly worried that she will choke on a piece of food;  eat something poisonous; get sunburned; eat a coin that has fallen on the floor and choke; slam her fingers in the door; open up the baby-proofed toilet and drown; open up the baby-proofed cabinets and drink dishwasher detergent; pull down a glass of hot coffee onto herself; fall down and poke her eye out on the corner of something sharp; fall down on something sharp and disfigure herself; somehow eat a peanut and have a severe allergic reaction; get hit by a drunk driver that has driven his car through our front window, while she plays innocently in front of it.

– I am also a little bit worried that my parents will drink all my good wine. (Just kidding Mom and Dad, you are welcome to all the wine you want. ) (Except for the really good stuff hidden in the cabinet… I mean, hidden somewhere you will never find.)

I have spent the past few days and, frankly, the past year worrying about these things, as well as stressing about packing, cleaning, preparing copious notes for my parents etc.  Then last night, in the middle of my stress, my daughter once again proved why she is the parent and I am the one-year-old.  As I was racing around the house like a bat out of hell with its head cut off (have you ever seen one of those?  They’re crazy) my daughter was watching a dvd of nursery rhymes.  She looked so cute dancing there by herself, with her fat little diapered butt going up and down and her chubby starfish hands waving, that I had to stop what I was doing and pick her up to dance with her.  Then she laid her head on my chest and we swayed together for a bit.  Getting tired but not wanting to break the spell (my crazy little toddler rarely sits still for longer that 2.2 seconds, let alone lets me snuggle her for that long) I laid down on the couch with her still on the my chest.  We watched the dvd together… well she watched the dvd and I watched her.  But the best part was that every few minutes she would look up at me and smile, like she too realized how special this moment was.  Like she understood that I was going away for a few days and she wanted to spend this extra bit of time with me too.  As I sat there stroking her head, I realized that just as I had to take the time to live in this moment with my daughter, I had to do the same this weekend without her.  Life goes by so fast that we have to enjoy every second of it.

So, as I spend the day preparing to leave for the weekend and readying to leave my baby, I am trying not to worry and not to stress.  I am going to enjoy the weekend alone with my husband, and let my parents enjoy the weekend alone with Lyla… and possibly alone with my good wine.

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