I have a terrible confession to make.
It turns out I didn't really miss le Petit during our weekend getaway to Burgundy. I knew he was in good hands, cared for by people who would probably have more patience than I would for snail-paced trips to the park by tricycle and endlessly read and re-read story books. I was more concerned that my in-laws would be worn out and exhausted by the time we got back than I was about le Petit.
It felt a little strange at first, after we left, just the two of us, with no chirping commentary from the back seat and no children's music on the car CD player. By the time we reached Beaune I felt slightly buzzed on the flagrant ducking of responsibility, like a high school student skipping class and hopping a bus for downtown. Replace "I'm 16, and I should be in chemistry class," with "I'm a mommy, and somewhere my toddler is eating his fourth cookie and terrifying his grandmother by tumbling head first from the couch."
We got to eat at fabulous restaurants, savor the wine and tarry at the table for hours. That night, we left the restaurant three and a half hours after we'd arrived. I felt I discussed more with my husband in two days than over the previous three months. I hadn't realized just how the background process of taking care of a toddler takes up so much of our brain and leaves little room, even after le Petit is asleep, for meaningful adult conversation.
So I realized, with great guilt, that for those brief two days I didn't miss le Petit that much after all. And now I'm admitting it on my blog. The guilt hit me when I woke up in the middle of the night, heart racing, having just dreamt that we'd forgotten le Petit in a parking lot. Mère indigne! Unworthy mother! Then as we were driving back on Sunday night I peeked over my shoulder at the empty car seat and felt an odd wave of panic.
I was relieved to find that le Petit didn't seem to miss us much, either. He greeted us nonchalantly with a grin when his grandparents dropped him off. But he woke up three times in the middle of the night, a very rare occurrence these days, and I wondered, is it our fault? Am I the only one who beats herself up about these sorts of things?