Friday, November 8, 2013

all by myself...

So my baby cousin got married in August.  The wedding was in Redondo Beach, California, and I attended.  By myself.  No hubs.  NO KIDS!!  So weird.

I agonized about the decision to go.  You have no idea of the guilt I felt even just considering it, much less actually attending.  The hubs kept telling me that it was important that I attend (no
Kevin and me
dispute there).  I had my parents telling me that I needed a break.  None of them were wrong.  But there were financial considerations, as well as the huge "kid" factor.  But we had airline miles that I could use, and my parents were treating me to my hotel room, so I finally decided to just go for it.  I was glad that I did, because my cousin asked me to be a reader.  What an honor!

Dad & me
So I drove down to Virginia and flew out to LA with my parents.  I took with me one carry-on suitcase and my big purse.  There were no bags filled with electronic devices, toys, books, snacks, drinks (ok, maybe there were snacks...I wasn't about to pay the airline $50 for some stale chips).  No DVD players.  No car seats or strollers.  I barely knew what to do with myself.  I intended to bring my Jodi Picoult book that was about an autistic child, but my mom said I was have as little to do with autism as I could for a just few days.  I understood, but I really wanted to read it (I have probably read 5 books for fun since Laurie's diagnosis)!!

I spent the first couple of days "on alert," ready to spring into a sprint to prevent Laurie from running away, from eating gluten-filled food, or from climbing something.  I would look for her diaper bag before going somewhere.  But after about two days of being there, I relaxed a little.  I managed to nap.  I spent an afternoon in my hotel room and it was silent!  I ironed my clothes and dressed up!  And I even...wait for a book FOR FUN!!!

The best part?  I had entire uninterrupted conversations!  Of course they were all about the fam,
The happy couple!
but that was OK.  I finished sentences without someone pulling on me...without Annie talking over me...without having to repeat myself sixteen times before someone actually listened to me.  I managed to eat entire meals without having to jump up to get something, cut someone's food, or clean up a yogurty mess.  I didn't raise my voice even once.  I could go to the bathroom without making sure that someone was keeping an eye on Laurie.

Of course I missed the girls and the hubs like crazy.  But I had such a blast seeing the sights, catching up with my family, being on an adult schedule, and simply sleeping without being on alert.  It was really nice to let my inner super control freak have a couple of days off!

Oh, I really did feel a little guilty when I would get texts and calls from the hubs telling me how much of a whirling dervish Laurie was each day.  It just didn't seem fair that he was dealing with all of that on his own.  But I would do my best to go along on my merry little way and have fun anyway.

Uncle John & me
Because I was with my parents, and not with my kids, there were many times when I felt like I was 7 again since I seemingly had no responsibilities.  At one point my dad even did "the whistle" to get my attention so that I would get on the correct wedding bus...that "whistle" that could be heard throughout the neighborhood when I was a kid...that "whistle" that made you sprint like the wind to get home...that "whistle" that had the other kids telling you that you'd better get home.  I really did feel like I was transported back to my seven year old self.  Then my dad or my uncle (that's him in the pic with me) would get me "adult beverages," and that feeling would fade. (Note: somehow having the men who served you chocolate milk as a kid get you adult beverages seemed just wrong on a certain level.  I managed to get over it.)

After the wedding, we flew back to DC, and I drove back home the next day.  When I walked in the door, I was greeted by everyone (well, except for Laurie, who was watching a show).  The hubs soon left to go teach, and my life of chaos resumed.  It would have been as if I had not ever left...but I was not quite as control-freaky for a few hours or so afterward (too bad the hubs missed THAT!)...

I do think it helped for me to get away, and for me to be taken care of for awhile.  I don't think I can take the guilt of it if I do it very often, but once in awhile, it's a good thing...


  1. Awesome Cathy. So glad you were able to join us. Thanks John for taking over while she enjoyed herself.

    Love, AK

  2. Thanks for sharing Cathy. I enjoyed reading this and take comfort in knowing there are others with the same level of guilt and emotions. Josh is 15 now, but I can remember the days when just going to the bathroom was a challenge.