It was time. I was beginning to forget that there was a world outside of my four, creaky walls. That people still went to work, stopped at Dunkin Donuts, took the train, ate a sandwich at a normal lunch hour and were not perpetually covered in breast milk, urine, or tears. I had officially been in the house for a little over 2 weeks with limited adult interaction and it was very clear that I needed to get out and remind myself that I am still capable of doing all the things I had done before- such as, operate a vehicle, program the radio station, put on mascara. Mascara for goodness sake. Rich was home for the day and after Ellie was fed and fairly sated, he encouraged me to run the necessary errands by myself for some down time away from the little one. I was both reluctant and eager for my hour and a half of adulthood.
I didn’t go far. I limited myself to telling only one stranger about the plight of my first day out. Seems it was hers as well; though her daughter was 8 months old. So help me God if I was in the house for 8 months. First stop at the post office was fairly painless; I was still high on my, “oh yeah, I’m out and don’t have to carry in a car seat and a stroller and a diaper bag just to mail a letter” platform. Some things to return at Macy’s went smoothly as well- I even paused a moment to browse the shoes. Last stop, Whole Foods. And that’s when things began to slide quickly downhill.
Whole Foods on Saturdays, I’m convinced, is the mecca for burned out Mommies trying to soothe over-tired children while simultaneously shopping for over-priced food items to compensate. I had made it so far without an anxious thought! I knew Ellie was safe and cared for by her Dad at home. It made no difference. Every whimper, cry or wail from someone else’s child had me unconsciously searching the canned tomato isle for my baby. An apparent, secret alliance of motherhood runs deep by the produce and we nod silently at our still shrinking baby bellies and dark circles of exhaustion, and then smile. The longer I lingered by the cheese the more I wondered if she was awake, or crying or if she missed me. For the first time in my life, I didn’t compare yogurt prices. There was no time for that. My baby was home. Without me.
Well, I still think it was a successful trip. And what we’ve learned from this little excursion is simply that she must never grow up and leave me. I’ll begin prepping her now so that she’s prepared when the time comes.