I started this post on Thursday night with just a subject line, and left it in draft mode so that I wouldn’t forget to write about it. Tonight, I must write about it.
Because I let go a little bit tonight. I am close to tears over it.
On Thursday night, we went out for B’s company’s holiday dinner. We got a babysitter, one we trust immensely and who Matthew loves to pieces. She’s 40 and is the SIL of B’s coworker, the one I wrote about earlier today with the two sweet boys. “Aunt K” has no kids of her own and is truly what any kid would dream of for an aunt. She is involved in everything they do, she loves them like her own, and she’s taught them to respect her for the adult that she is. I think “the boys” behave better for Aunt K than they do for their own parents sometimes. When Aunt K offered to start watching Matthew for us so we could go out every once in a while, we jumped at it. We know that she loves our boy as much as he loves her, and tha’s a gift.
We went out several weeks ago and Matthew had not had a good day – he didn’t nap well and then had a complete meltdown when K was watching him. Bless her heart, she did text us and said that he was a wreck and needed us. I like that in a sitter – one who doesn’t sugar-coat it and tells you when you’re needed. We rushed home as soon as we could and I could not get in the door fast enough. I found my boy in tears – sobbing tears.
When K came over this past Thursday, I was a wreck, wondering if he’d do OK without us. I figured the prior time was a fluke, but one never knows. He did just fine. I texted her as we ordered (45 minutes after sitting down, which is so irritating to a nervous mother) and said we’d be home as soon as we could. She texted back 45 minutes later saying not to rush, that he’d gone to the garage door looking for us a few times, but was nicely distracted. That’s all I had to “hear” to rush through my meal and head home.
I told the people near us that I wanted to get home to relieve the sitter, but the truth is I just wanted to get home for my boy. B’s coworker said to text K and ask her to put Matthew to bed, but I said, “only I can put him to bed. Even B can’t do it.” I didn’t say it out of disrespect for B, just out of pure fact. Putting Matthew to bed after book time (which is B’s time) is my job, and I love it. I honestly didn’t think that K would be able to get him to settle down.
I couldn’t stand the thought of Matthew crying and wanting us. I told B to stay and enjoy himself, and he arranged a ride home with his coworker (K’s SIL) and her husband, but walked me out to the car. I swear, once the doors shut, we both said that we couldn’t get home soon enough. We played all tough for the people at the table, but both of us just wanted to be with our little boy. (Of course, when I got home, he was just fine and having a great time with K!)
Matthew is like an appendage to me. People keep telling me that I need a break from him, that I need to take some time for myself, etc. But what they don’t know is that he really, REALLY is an easy kid to have around. I take him everywhere I go, and he goes happily. He’s my permanent buddy. We’re best friends. We talk all day, laugh and play, and talk some more. I take him to his activities, and he accompanies me to mine. Being without him would be like being without my left hand – it just wouldn’t (and doesn’t) feel right. I’m sure some people read this and think, “get a life,” but the truth is, HE is my life right now. He is my #1 priority. He is my JOB. He is my son. He is my daily buddy.
The three of us are best friends. Neither of us wants to be without Matthew. I’m the lucky one in this deal who gets to spend every day with him – and I’m so grateful for that. I can’t imagine not being with him all day long. I can’t imagine leaving him for more than an hour or so at a time. And as much as my friends think that I NEED to have time without him, I can honestly say that I disagree. Sure, it’s nice to run to Target on my own, on my own schedule, once in a while, but when I do that, I’m lonely because I don’t have my little chatter box with me. The grocery store is absolutely no fun without Matthew, and I know B would agree. That’s something the three of us like to do as an activity on the weekends, for crying out loud.
Maybe I would feel differently if I had a high-maintenance child, but when I have a mellow, go-with-the-flow kid like Matthew, it’s just easier to take him with me than to leave him behind. I WANT to take him with me. I WANT him in the back of the car yelling at the busses and trucks as they go by. I WANT him in the grocery cart asking for things like oranges and tomatoes. I WANT him hugging me from the seat in the Target cart.
It’s no secret that I control certain aspects of our parenting. By design, I put Matthew to sleep for every nap and every bedtime. I tell people that I’m the only one who can do it. Because I am.
Well… at least I thought so.
I found out tonight that B can do it too.
We read a couple final books together and at the point that B usually hands Matthew off to me, he was almost sound asleep on B’s lap. Without talking about it, I decided right then and there to let B have this. He deserves to have this time as well. It’s not just mine, despite what I like to think.
I kissed my boy. I kissed B. I told them both that I loved them, and I slipped out of the room.
I let go a little.
And I came out here to write this post.
And I cried.
January 15, 2013 at 12:42 am
What a beautiful relationship. Matthew is very lucky to have a mom like you, for all you do for, and with him, and for all the times you let go a little.
January 15, 2013 at 2:59 pm
Thank you, E! I do need to work on letting go more. Last night was a HUGE step in the right direction. I need to do that more – and not for me – but for him.
January 15, 2013 at 2:37 am
I love your relationship with your son!! I love that you are best friends and that you truly enjoy your time together. I find sometimes I get in such a rush that I end up getting annoyed because toddler time doesn’t always coincide with mom time. It’s when I slow down and follow Sofia’s lead and engage her that we both have the most fun. I need to remember that. (Although I can only leave her in an empty bathtub playing with fading bubbles for so long…)
I also love that you decided to let go a little and give that moment to B. It’s a really special moment each day, and something to be savored. I bet you enjoy it even more tonight when it’s your “turn” again. 😉
January 15, 2013 at 3:03 pm
Do you think I’ll get to put him to bed tonight? I’m not sure! B really enjoyed it 🙂
I need to slow down too. I think we all get ahead of ourselves, and have thing we need to get done and make that time about us – dragging our toddlers “along for the ride.” I learned a while back that one outing in the AM, and MAYBE one in the afternoon, is all Matthew can handle. I employ this daily. Even if I have something important to do, if I’ve already taken him on an outing, my thing just has to wait. Period. It took a long time for me to get there – to get to the point where I realized that my own annoyance wasn’t worth it to either of us.
I’m telling you, we get Matthew out of the bath so quickly, that he doesn’t even know what happened. He showers with me every morning, and bathes by himeself every night. He is a water baby and we are rather sneaky about getting him from point a to point b so that there are no fits!
January 15, 2013 at 7:13 am
Aww, that is such a sweet end to this post. I can understand how you feel, I’m the same way about not wanting to go out with Chloe. For the most part, if we go out with friends, she tags along. JJ and I did have a date night last Friday though, and we managed to not talk about her for the ENTIRE evening, but of course she was on our minds. And even if JJ might want to get out and do things on his own, if he comes home after she’s already gone to bed, he still goes into her room and picks her up to tell her goodnight and get a few cuddles. Melts my heart to watch him on the monitor with her. If you don’t feel like you need the time away from him, by all means, don’t force it. I’m sure there will come a day when it becomes a little more natural to do certain things on your own, like when you have a second child :), but until then, take that buddy with you!
January 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm
I think my time is coming – add another baby to the mix and alone time becomes necessary!
I bet you Chloe would have enjoyed the shooting range with you guys. HA! 😉
January 15, 2013 at 7:46 am
I wanted to say that we have a high maintenance son, and that I rarely want a break. Something about being away from him not only makes me nervous, but it’s all I can do to not rush home to him. We left him a couple weeks ago in the church nursery and told the worker to call us if Aiden got upset. She never called and by the time we got downstairs to pick him up, Aiden had been screaming so long he couldn’t catch his breath. Talk about mommy fail. I freaking lost it on the way home. All I could think about was my baby needed me and wanted me. Lots of snuggles later, we have recovered, but I WILL NOT be leaving Aiden with a stranger again 🙂 I know that I am so blessed to be a mom, and honestly, I love being around Aiden all.the.time!
January 15, 2013 at 3:07 pm
You know, I put that part in there about him being low-maintenance to keep people from saying, “it’s easy and fun because he’s easy.” I get that all the time in conversation and it drives me nuts. I think I’d be the exact same way if he was more difficult – maybe we just wouldn’t go out as often as we do 😉
Don’t you just feel terrible when you come back to your crying baby? I had the hardest time with it a few weeks ago – tore my heart out.
January 15, 2013 at 12:21 pm
So sweet! I’m totally the same. I also have friends who think I need a break… and honestly, it would be nice to pee by myself once in a while…. but more than a bathroom break, or an occassional nap, I only want my family. My babies, my husband. They are my life and I love it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And I’m still the “only one” who can put them to sleep… although S, now that he’s 5, is able to go to sleep when daddy does it… as long as I go in afterward to give him kisses. 🙂
January 15, 2013 at 3:08 pm
I think you’re the one who commented on my post almost a year ago saying that you still sing your kids to sleep 😉 I have always remembered that when friends tell me to let go. I will be singing my kids to sleep for as long as they will let me!
January 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm
I read this post (SUPER sweet, btw) and the comments thinking “am I the only Mom who DOES want that break?!”
I was starting to feel bad about myself, but then I realized that I really do have a hard time leaving Stells with anyone else – it’s just that I’m luckily a night owl, so once it’s 8pm and she’s in bed and our friends are around, it’s on! I don’t miss out on her being awake, but I still get lots of ME time too. Makes for some rough Saturday mornings, but that’s another story. 🙂
I’m glad that B is getting a little of that bedtime routine with Matthew now as well! I still claim the final part of the routine as mine, though I think that will chance when we’re no longer nursing. We shall see…
January 15, 2013 at 3:10 pm
Hey – I hate putting Matthew to bed, but once he’s down, I kick back and totally relax! I am only sad for those moments leading up to bedtime, and then I get my time and it’s really, really nice!
You say that now, but so did I. “Once we’re done nursing, other people can put him to bed.” Nope – I hung on to that as long as I could – and I’m not about to give it up 100% now just because it happened once 😉 HA!
January 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm
Oh… I get this feeling! People keep insisting “IT’S TIME” that we leave HGB overnight with them (ahem, grandparents) and I don’t know why they don’t get that I *don’t* feel that way. Just that clearly, I NEED, time on my own. And that that is kind of a shitty thing to say! There is nothing wrong with being, and wanting to be, firmly attached to your small children! I can decide when I need a few hours here and there on my own, thank you very much! I’m like, a grown woman, and stuff. 🙂
It IS hard to let go of those things that are “Just Mum”. Proud of you. And I bet B feels good in his accomplishment! 🙂
January 15, 2013 at 3:39 pm
YES! Why do people think that they know what’s best for you and your child? I just don’t get it. We were trying to play a weekend away without Matthew and it just didn’t get done, and it didn’t get done. and finally, I said, “I don’t want to leave him” and B said, “me neither. Let’s plan a family trip instead.” And we feel much better about it!
B was more excited than proud. He loved the snuggles 🙂
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