It is quiet in my house now and I am in disbelief. The ever-so-faint melody of Ethan's lullabies is sneaking out from underneath his door, permeating gently into the living room where I sit. Where I sit, trying to figure out now what? as the bags are packed, the instruction sheet is neatly penned with no detail being withheld; where I sit, really, trying to inflict apathy on my brain and overactive thoughts. It's vacation time, my husband cheered as he stepped into the house after work this evening. He cheered, and I sat slumped over a dirty dining room table trying, with no apparent success, to feed an overtired toddler dinner. You see, I had put the sauce on his pasta and he wanted to dip it, and I had mixed the peas in with everything else and that was just wrong. And in that moment, I realized that I had completely forgotten to purchase hazelnuts for the cake I was hoping to make my husband for our anniversary and then, you know, there's the turmoil in my stomach over the night away from Ethan we'll be spending tomorrow. It's only one night, and it's only twenty minutes away, but it's too far to constantly check the baby monitor to ensure he's still asleep in bed when I swear I heard something in the quiet night. It's, after all, the longest I've been away from the little boy who I have spent every day with since he was born nearly two years ago. I'm torn between justifying my neurosis by the fact that this is really hard and I've never done it before and really, really dreading unintentionally making this anniversary trip a miserable one for my husband and I. While he's venturing out into uncharted territory, spending the night away from Ethan, he also is used to saying goodbye and heading out the door on his own for ten hours everyday. Me? Well, I've been to the grocery store alone here and there, if that counts (and I didn't even like it). See? Justifying. Freaking out a little. Inevitably feeling guilty for spending our entire anniversary trip moping and missing the same toddler who spent dinnertime smashing his palms in applesauce and wiping it onto the cats who didn't care if the tomato sauce was mixed into the pasta because they weren't above scavenging.
But it is vacation time and the way-too-many-outfits-for-one-night have been packed, and I've made a list of Ethan's favorite YouTube videos to watch for when he receives his breathing treatments even though I know my mother won't play any of them. And, you know, it likely wouldn't kill me to shut my brain off the next couple of days and enjoy the sand and ocean and quiet evening in our wedding night hotel four years later, this time resting our heads on the pillow to sweet dreams of the little boy who was just a distant dream four years ago. Because Ethan's party planning -- you know, the party I was going to keep small this year and it's bags and boxes of supplies and epoxy and spray paint and Curious George-infused everything -- can wait a couple more days to resume it's chaos.
So ready or not, I'm forcing myself into a vacation with the same excitement and anticipation that Ethan isn't shy about sharing towards his soon-to-be trip to Grandma's house for a sleepover. And I might even live to talk about it.