After a week filled not only with the glorious spirit and beauty of a wonderful family Christmas but also:
* my husband leaving town the day after to spend part of the holidays with his children in Indiana (which he absolutely wanted and needed to do but which left me in the not-so-enviable position of single parenting a toddler);
* our patio furniture flying off the deck during a wind gust, smashing the glass tabletop into a million shards across our backyard, where our dogs hang out and our toddler plays;
* our back fence collapsing to the point that both dogs nearly escaped before I was able to fix it;
* our washing machine breaking down in the middle of a cycle that contained all of my favorite (black and khaki) clothes;
* my having to call poison control after Delaney decided that the plastic wrapper on her soy cheese slice was much more appetizing that the "cheese" itself (Let me interject that I agree with her on that culinary decision, dangerous though it could have been.);
I needed A BREAK. Luckily, the mamas planned a girls-only night of musing and merriment and invited me. My favorite, super-amazing, completely cost-free, sainted and anointed babysitter (Hi, Pat!) arrived at the appointed time and off I went, giddy as a 20-something who's downed several buttery nipple shots.
The drive to the party was invigorating. I blasted the stereo (recognizing a good omen when Sheryl Crow's, "All I Wanna Do" came on--yes, I realize I'm dating myself here in addition to revealing my guilty little secret of enjoying bad 90s music) and let my thoughts wander. I couldn't remember the last time I'd driven anywhere in the dark by myself let alone to a destination that held the promise of spending time with other women, all mothers, all of whom probably needed a break too.
The evening was great: the mamas a vibrant, ecclectic and intelligent group, the conversation lively, the wine-sipping decadent and the desserts delicious. I was sad when the party ended but eager to get home to Delaney, who I had missed despite all the fun I was having. I thanked our host and said goodnight to everyone and as I ran out to my car in the rain, my cell phone rang. "Ah," I thought. "Roger's checking in with me." But no. It was my mom: "Colleen! It's storming out. It's almost midnight. Where are you??? Is your party over yet? You have a long drive home and the weather is just terrible. Please, please be careful and promise you'll call me as soon as you get home!"
I'm turning 36 next month. THIRTY-SIX. And yet my mother still stays up late at night worrying about me. This mama gig? This blessing that's been bestowed upon me? This "job" that I adore and wouldn't trade for any other? It doesn't offer retirement. There is no end to being a mama. And that point was never made more clear to me than it was tonight.