It's been nearly a week since I've posted something here, and it's not because I haven't wanted to do so. I was just telling someone recently that it's important to me to try to post a few times a week. It's good for the creative process, and you can't expect people to keep coming back to read your blog if you never put anything new on there. It's not that I haven't been wanting to write, or that I haven't had anything to say - I've just been elsewhere.
First, I was in Nashville, TN for the weekend to visit one of my closest friends in the entire world, to watch our kids play, to take pictures, to take in the beautiful peak fall colors, to see her childhood home in Kentucky. I have an entire post already written in my mind about this beautiful trip, and more broadly about our enduring friendship and all that it means to me. It was a lovely weekend, and worthy of its own space in this blog.
Now I am in a hotel room in Savannah, Georgia, at a conference. Aside from attending to conference activities, I have a mound of work that has to be done in the evenings and during every break. I have so much work to do that I have no idea how I am ever going to get it done. I have so much work to do and have had so many technical problems with it that today I seriously considered how wonderful it would feel to throw my laptop out the window of my room on the 5th floor, to see it spiraling down to the lovely historic brick street below, crashing to its demise below the live oaks and Spanish moss.
Mostly, though, I am in a hotel room in Savannah, Georgia, about to lay my head down for the second night ever in which I have not been within a few steps of my baby girl. Last night was the first time in her two plus years that I did not kiss her goodnight, did not nurse her to sleep, did not gently close her door and nestle in to bed beside my husband just a few feet away from her. I woke up last night at 4 in the morning with a start, my heart pounding, wondering about her. She is still nursing, and I did not leave on this trip without her to wean her cold turkey. I just have gotten to the point that the logistics of traveling with a baby for work have become more than I can handle, and she doesn't need to nurse for food, so Brian and I decided we'd just try it. We talked to Dora repeatedly about mommy going away and she seemed to understand.
From what I can tell, things are generally ok at home. There have been a few tearful calls home - with tears on both ends - and it was especially difficult to say goodbye earlier this evening when Dora was crying and saying "my mommy" over and over again. Everyone said this would be harder on me than Dora and I think that may be true. I feel exhausted, lonely, guilty, and very, very sore. My friends who have or are breastfeeding will know that, even when you're down to nursing only once or twice a day, if you go 48 hours without nursing, there's some serious hurtin' going on. The beer I had at this evening's reception helped, but I still feel like I'm about to burst. A friend of mine said there is a physical withdrawal when you can't nurse - you want to do it so bad you ache for it, literally and figuratively. She is absolutely right, and the feeling is intense when you're hundreds of miles away, listening to your baby cry for you over the phone, knowing 5 minutes in the black and white chair at home would fix us both right up.
Brian and Dora will get here late tomorrow night, and it won't be a moment too soon. I know there is much to be learned by all of this through this experience. I know that financially, logistically, professionally - it's time for me to start traveling for work solo again. I know that a little bit of pain now will make us all stronger. But I also know that I am very blessed to have not been separated from Dora until now, and I promise myself and my family that I'll do all that I can to prevent us from being separated unnecessarily in the future. And I can't wait for the moment, in about 24 hours from now, that I get to see Brian and Dora again. I can't wait to snuggle into bed together, Dora between us, cozy and nursing and happy. There will still be mounds of work to do and logistics to tackle and projects to complete but all of that, at least for a little while, can be elsewhere.