How was your weekend? I went away for the first time since I had Sabine, leaving tiny monster and husband alone together for an overnight. My friends planned a short getaway to Santa Barbara in honor of my birthday. It was incredible to be able to sit, talk, snack, walk, swim, sleep, eat, drive--do anything and everything--without a little one tugging at your pant leg or tagging along.
If you've ever been to Santa Barbara, then you know it's dream like. The Pacific sparkles a little more there because the light is so perfectly golden. The sky is more blue; the air is clean and smells like the sea wherever you go; the town is flanked by ocean and mountains; it's wonderfully cool and sunny at the same time; and every time you turn a corner, there are bursts of brilliant fuchsia Bougainvillea that hug Spanish-style buildings with bright white stucco walls and red tile roofs.
We stayed in a house on the mountain side of town. The patios had views of the ocean and the entire landscape. In the backyard, there was a hot tub tucked into the trees and surround by low, hand-stacked stone walls that looked like old-world sculpture. We sat and watched the sunset and talked and laughed and ate funky cheese and drank wine (only one glass for me). In a way, it felt like we were in college again and didn't have babies.
Until I woke up the next morning. I couldn't sleep in even though I had every opportunity to sleep. I looked at my watch and wondered if Sabine and Kadin were awake yet. I missed them. It was too early so I paced a little until I knew they'd be awake. When Sabine got on the phone, she sounded fine. She was excited about a birthday party she was going to that day. But when Kadin got on the phone, he sounded exhausted. He told me that when tiny monster woke up from her nap the day before, she sobbed for almost two hours straight and asked for me over and over again. He said it reminded him of her newborn days, when she was inconsolable. He walked around the apartment with her, holding her and rubbing her back. She finally stopped crying when he gave her a bath then took her to a friend's house for dinner. There were a handful of other children there and cats for her to play with so she was well distracted. But when they came home, she cried again. She refused to put her pajamas on or go to bed. She kept crying and telling him she was too scared. So he laid her in her clothes in our bed with her favorite TV show on until she fell asleep. It was close to midnight when he woke up and transferred her to her crib and then finally ate some dinner.
I felt heartbroken at the thought of Sabine being so distraught. But once I was home and playing with her, I saw that she kept picking up her stuffed animals, walking around the living room with them, rubbing their backs and saying, "shhh." I understood then that that's what her dad had done with her. And that they needed a chance to be alone together so that he could figure out how or be the one to comfort her. No matter how bumpy the road was without me, they needed to be on it together so they could learn to navigate it. And I needed to let go a little bit in order to give them that opportunity.