Wednesday, June 29, 2011


At the end of May, I had my first extended sleep-away from Sam (Dreams Come True). Scoff, if you will, that it took me over a year (13 months, actually) to take a vacation without him, or, if you must, shake your head and tut-tut that he was ONLY 13 months and I was leaving him for 3 whole days. (In the interest of full disclosure, this was not my first overnight away from Sam – Daddy and I spent a night away from home the night before we ran the Dallas Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon, but that was barely 24 hours away from my baby, all told. So yes, this trip was the first REAL trip away from my Sammo.)

I was prepared to cry and to miss him terribly the whole time. And you know what? That didn’t happen. Of course I missed him. It was tough when Sam and Bryan dropped me off at the airport and Sam started crying. I know that he really was crying because it was morning nap time (he just recently gave those up) and the car had stopped moving. Still, it’s never fun to leave your crying baby. Bryan assured me he’d be fine as soon as the car was moving, and I had a bag to check and security to get through.

I admit to being a bit of a nervous flier (I don’t like take-off and I’m not fond of turbulence), so I make sure to bring plenty of distractions for flights, especially flights by myself. I was soon consumed with those distractions (namely a book and my journal). I texted Bryan to let him know when I landed safely and had my bags, and again when I made it to the hotel room I was sharing with my mom and sister in Times Square (on my own, navigating the NYC bus and subway transit system, with luggage. And by the way, so many people were so nice and helpful to an obvious tourist like me. Thank you NYC!)

Bryan sent me a “good morning, Mommy” text every morning I was away, including an adorable picture of my darling boy (complete with Daddy-picked mismatched pj sets), that really helped me feel better about being away. But you know what? The mommy-guilt and the dreaded longing-missing of my baby never fully materialized. Maybe it was because the weekend was so busy, and so exciting. Maybe it was because Sam was still at home with Daddy and his routine and all his familiar things. Maybe it was because, deep down, I knew I deserved that time out, and the reason for me going was so much bigger than a couple of nights away from my precious little guy. Maybe it was because I waited until the time was right for me—for us—to be apart for several days.

Don’t mistake me, when I had time to kill at LaGuardia before my return flight, I called home. I admit to purposely not calling before because I was afraid that hearing Sam’s voice or him hearing my voice might start waterworks (on either end) that wouldn’t stop. And I did tear up hearing my little man’s happy babble on the phone. But, all in all, my first extended sleep-away from my angel went much more smoothly than I expected.

How long did you wait before your first extended sleep-away from your child? How did it go?

Julie Daneman is wife to Bryan, Stepmom to Jacob and Caleb, and Mommy to Sam. They are a boisterous, loving, happy interfaith family.

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