At the end of last month I took a five day trip to New Jersey to be in a high school friend's wedding. It was the second time I have been away from HP for more than a day, the first being a three-day trip to this same friend's engagement party last summer in New York.
I thought it would feel more momentous to be gone for five days, but it felt ... well, normal. Like it was no big deal. I take that to be a good sign.
I love all of the time I get to spend with HP, but I also love my time alone to rejuvenate. Most of the time, I find those moments of solitude in the down times of our day or on a weekend morning when HP and Neil go to the park without me, but I have to admit, it was refreshing to have multiple days in a row where I was not responsible for another human. This trip felt particularly luxurious as I got to spend two nights in a hotel room by myself (!).
Both times I've taken a multiple-day trip away from HP people have asked, "Do you just miss him so much?" And of course I miss him. But mostly it just feels like I am living my life and I know he is living his. Being a parent does not define who I am as an individual.
It was easy to enjoy my trip because I knew HP and Neil were having a good time together. Besides, they went camping with friends while I was gone, so I am fairly certain they were having as much fun as I was.
When I arrived home after a long day of travel, HP was taking his bath. Did he jump up to hug me upon my arrival? Tell me how much he missed me? Cry out with joy? Nope. He said, "Takin' a bath. Washcloth (points to the washcloth). Mama wearing stripes." and then proceeded to name the colors of each of the cups lined up on the edge of the bath. And you know what? It made me happy that my return was such a non-event for him. I take it as a sign that he is a well-loved, well-adjusted little boy.
I appreciated the break from our regular routine and enjoyed my time away, but I was glad to come back home to my little family when it was over. I think that is the perfect way to feel.