Sunday, November 05, 2006

Away

Our first night out, after the Pie was born, was hubby’s birthday dinner. We went to the Keg, and when the server asked me to approve the wine, I said, "I have a four-week-old baby at home and this is the first sip of wine to cross my lips in the last ten months. You can only imagine how good this is going to taste." Red wine, red meat, adult conversation: it was new-mom nirvana.

This morning, though, was something even better: our first breakfast out in more than two years.

During my first pregnancy, I loved to hit the Paragon diner each Sunday after church. Two eggs over easy, sausage links, brown toast with strawberry jam…it all went a long way to counteract the disadvantage of having to settle for decaf coffee. After Bub was born, the tradition continued: we would buckle him in the infant seat and haul him into the restaurant, tucking him under the table out of the way of passing feet. In those early months I was breastfeeding constantly, reeling with shock at the invasion of this baby into every nook and cranny of my my life, but certain routines remained intact: as the organist pounded out the postlude, I would latch the baby on for a good top-op, right there in the pew, and then round up the lunch-time crowd and decide on a destination: the Prince Albert Diner for burritos and milkshakes, or the Paragon for French toast? There was a degree of suspensefulness to the post-baby brunch experience, as I kept an eagle eye on my slumbering son, wary of any sign of inconvenient wakefulness, but there was freedom, too, and a certain amount of normalcy.

And then the nap schedule came along with its tyrannical demands, and the Sunday brunch tradition fell by the wayside. Instead of lingering after church to socialize, we now fetch the Pie from the nursery and the Bub from Sunday School and hustle them into the car, grabbing a Quizno’s sub to go as we head home for lunch and naps. Our Sunday tradition these days involves a little quiet puzzling over the crossword while the babies sleep.

This morning, however, was another matter. For the first time in nearly three years, I woke up under a different roof from my children. While grandma and grandpa were at my house, hauling themselves out of bed to pour cereal into bowls and spoon applesauce into hungry mouths, I rolled over in an oh-so-comfortable spare-room bed and went back to sleep for a few more hours. And then I got up and lounged about in my pyjamas for awhile, sipping coffee and chatting with my lovely hostess. And then I went out for breakfast.

There was jam and butter and maple syrup, coffee and cream and even an unplanned rendez-vous with a fellow blogger. And when we couldn't fit in any more hash browns or slices of French toast, hubby and I went shopping, poking into little bookstores and gift shops, as if we were living a day out of that other life. To be sure, the clothes I looked at were in size 2-3T, and the placemats I purchased featured zoo animals and a map of the world; I spent a pleasant half hour comparing sets of plastic cookware, and my most prized book purchase looked like this:


I’m never away wholly, you know, even when I’m away.

But I felt lovely and free, and I talked to my husband, and I didn’t start missing my children until about an hour before I got home. I'm missing them now, as they sleep soundly upstairs and I clack away at my keyboard down here. And the funny thing is that as much as I enjoyed the breakfast and the shopping and the snuggling under blankets to shut out the bright light of morning, there’s something about that tugging sensation of missing them that is the best part of all.

33 comments:

Mommy off the Record said...

Yes, I agree that no matter how great (and vital!) these types of gettaways are, it's the coming home part that is the best part for me too. I'm glad you had a great time with Metro Mama and the gang!

Mary-LUE said...

What sweet thoughts. Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you had the chance to get out, too and the Neil Gaimon looks great!

owlhaven said...

sounds lovely... hubby's 40th is in a few weeks...maybe he and I need to go do something along those lines ourselves.....

Mary

Em said...

I get that longing after only a few hours away from mine... by school pick I can't wait to see them! However, I'm jealous that you've been able to get away for a night with hubby. I haven't done that in 6+ years...

Mouse said...

It was so good to talk to you in person, so I'm glad, for selfish reasons, that you got away. And jealous.

And I agree that there's something sweet about the missing. I get that every day when my son's in daycare and often pick him up just a bit earlier than I had intended.

karrie said...

We try and go out to breakfast alone once a week: drop our son off at preschool and my husband goes in to work a little later that day.

Lisa b said...

Mmm the paragon. That brings back some memories for me.
Glad to hear you had a great weekend.

ewe are here said...

My husband and I love it when family come to visit; they all insist on baby sitting and practically shove us out the door to go to dinner or a movie or shopping, etc. It's why I was bummed when we moved a few months ago; family's just a bit further away.

Lovely post.

metro mama said...

Isn't it nice to actually enjoy your food instead of wolfing it down!

Come again!

penelopeto said...

great post, post great night :)

being away is weird isn't it? almost like role-playing. the nice thing is, as much as i love the hours away (we've never overnighted - i'm not there yet!), that is a role i'm content to relegate to special guest star in my real life.

and luckily, i have a baby that loves to brunch!

Mad Hatter said...

Mmmm. Milk shakes at the Prince Albert Diner. Truly, is it still in operation after all these years? Are the milk shakes as good as ever? Is it still managed by that flamboyant fellow that was simply known a "Prince Albert" in my undergrad years?

Glad to hear you had some time in the big city. I can't imagine a night away ever, but we have no relatives close by to enable it.

nomotherearth said...

Sounds like fun - both the party and the time away. I laughed when you wrote about looking for clothes that are 2T-3T! That's the first thing I do when I have time away - shop for kids clothes. Ironic, ain't it?

DaniGirl said...

Even though I always hate the idea of being away as I approach the time, I always love it as it happens. I think away time is important, very important, whether just for a movie or breakfast out or whatever. One day last month Beloved and I did the grocery shopping together without kids, and we called it a date!

Ah, the Prince Albert. Fuzzy memories of stumbling out of some bar on Richmond Street, and into the Prince Albert for perogies. Because nothing follows a few fistsful of beer like a plate of perogies and sour cream!

Kyla said...

Wonderful! Josh and I haven't been away from the kids together since Valentine's when BubTar was about 1 year old. It was glorious and freeing, but we missed him so much, and we haven't been able to bring ourselves to do it again. We keep saying "Some day we'll do it again."

When I am out, I'm always shopping for the kids. My best friend laughs at me because when we go for coffee at Barnes and Noble (to escape from the kiddos) I always walk the same circuit: baby books, preschool workbooks/flashcards, special needs books. *lol*

Mayberry said...

Sounds heavenly... we had a getaway a few weeks ago and it was allllll about the eating and the shopping. I loved it.

wordgirl said...

Sometimes you have to get away to feel the intense appreciation of what you have. The singer Sheryl Crowe said it best: "It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got". Lovely post.

Beck said...

Lovely! My baby used to need to nurse through the entire church service, which was an enourmous improvement upon her current "Let's scream and run around all through the sermon!" behaviour.
I love my occasional afternoon away from my kids and I also the feeling of being back with them again when I've been gone. Good times.

kittenpie said...

I was away last year for about 24 whirlwind hours and it was really just the dropping off to sleep and the flight home that made me miss her because I was having so much fun doing grownup stuff and relishing the brief freedom! I might have to try it with Misterpie next fall, perhaps...

Glad you had a good time, and it was really nice to see you at the party and the run into you again for a moment again in the morning!
(and now you've seen the elusive pumpkinpie.)

Jenny said...

Okay number 1. I adore Neil Gaiman.

Number 2. I just wrote about my first night out without my kiddo in 2 years too.

If you also love Project Runway I think we might be related.

Kristen said...

Mmm, breakfast out followed by shopping - sounds heavenly. But we're always thrilled to be back home to the "obligations", aren't we? :-)

Mother Bumper said...

What a wonderful sounding weekend. Now I want a big lumberjack breakfast. I can't wait to get back into Sunday Brunch without having to plan like a G8 Summit.

Christina said...

Sometimes all I can think about is my next get-away. I love my daughter very much, but I love her even more when I get a little time away to recharge my batteries.

Sounds like you had a wonderful time!

Jennifer said...

Ahhh...

Just ahhh...to the whole thing.

Pieces said...

It sounds so lovely. I remember those days well--especially shopping on weekends away. I only ever looked at little people things.

Now I look at scarves and jewelry.

Haley-O said...

Josh and I have yet to sleep under a different roof than our 15-month-old monkey. Friends of ours leave their 16-month-old at the grandparents' house weekly. My mother lets me know that she would LOVE that. But, I can't do it. Niether Josh nor I want to leave her with the grandparents just yet. I love going in to look at her as she sleeps, love just knowing she's there. :)

But, it's so nice that you got away! It sounds like a lovely time. :)

Oh, The Joys said...

That is so true. The missing them every once in a while is good for your soul.

jen said...

i absolutely know what you mean - i was away recently and reveled in all of it, including the missing...and it was wonderful and good to see how i've grown into the mother i wasn't sure i'd be able to become. your time sounds lovely.

Lady M said...

That sounds like a really excellent Sunday morning. Mmmmm.

I'm mostly missing the kidlet the most on the drive or flight home, which works out just right.

Kelly said...

Well, how does that cliche go? You appreciate your children so much more when you're able to actually get away from them a bit? I'm not being quite as eloquent, yeah, but it's something along those lines, and very true.

I went to a writing workshop this past weekend. Granted, it was only 3 hours, but I enjoyed the company of adults and the thrill of quiet creativity, and when it was time to go, I practically sped home to greet my two little ones.

(And yes, I even hugged the one who pissed all over the dining room chair in my absence.)

Glad you had a chance to get out! It sounds darn near heaven...

Jaelithe said...

Oooh, I am so jealous. Of the breakfast. And the child-free time with the husband. And the blogger visiting. And the Neil Gaiman book, which I have yet to buy.

Kristen said...

Nothing like getting out. we had our first "date" in I can't tell you how long this friday. Just me and Tim and some TGIFRIDAYS food. It wasn't the place, but more the fact that we actually got to spend time with each other!

Her Bad Mother said...

The blurry edge of missing them is what makes such adventures so very, very sweet.

anne said...

getting away is bittersweet...but I treasure those alone times. So rare.