It was around 7pm. Dark. It was supposed to be quiet time and getting ready for bed but instead, we were out.
We were having fun singing, playing, and dancing in the car. He had no clue he was about to spend his first night far from his human pillow.
I too had no idea how I would go about it.
All I know is, we tried to do this several times. But we just couldn’t. That night, finally, I convinced myself I needed this.
There we were. Can you guess how long before we were able to leave him?
Hours. Like those hours I could have spent sipping tea, with Mozart and Bach in the background, a book in my hand, feet up. But all was gone in a moment. And as soon as I realized, I set aside the mom guilt and collected what was remaining in my spirit.
I looked at Jayson and we worked our marital telepathy, it’s time to go.
Before walking out the door I smothered Atlas with hugs and kisses, and tickled his belly so to hear him giggle. In a while, I would only have this favorite music of mine linger in my head.
We have nothing to worry about, I said to myself.
He was happy to be at his wowa’s house. With all his fave people under one roof: Kingkong, kuya Kyle, tati hanna, tati Jeni, imaw and wowa, he always is. I kept on repeating that so I could leave in peace.
As I was walking out the door, his cute little voice was following me asking for nanay so I hid quickly behind the door. And then tati came to distract him saying nanay will be back.
“Oh .. okay ... dadidadadada”
(Footsteps, running away from the door)
First night away since his 8th day of life when I finally got to take him home from the NICU:
First time I slept without a hand sneaking its way to my breast:
First undistracted sleep in 2 years and 4 months.
Oh really, was I able to sleep?
Crazy enough, I did.
No engorgement, no sepanx, no tossing and turning.
I missed him the moment I walked out my mom’s front door. The moment I opened our home and the quiet repose greeted me “home”.
I missed the little human who keeps on bugging me because he wants to stay awake and play with me. The cute thumping on the floor running to and fro the room; the sudden tantrums; the compromises for his last scott’s; the toothbrush situation; the last minute countdown to his bath;
and everything that I thought I wouldn’t miss haunted me for a brief moment.
And then I remembered how much I needed this time alone.
How much we all need it to reconnect with ourselves and keep our sanity.
So right then and there, on the queen-sized bed we normally share, lights dimmed the way I want it, I drifted off to sleep.
I missed my little Atlas for the night. But God, how my burnt-out and hormonal self thanked me for spending time with my own again.
I woke up with a spick-and-span home. The space seemed empty and the silence sure deafened me. But I was recharged and full.
That night sure made me feel sufficient, motivated, and peaceful.
asked Jayson upon picking me up.
I returned a nod and smiled. Our marital telepathy assured me he gets that wistful smile.
On we went to what seemed like the longest car ride of my life. Like my mom’s home is located at the opposite pole and the safest and fastest way to get there isn’t good enough.
Excited. A feeling I have long forgotten until this very day.
My heart was beating out of my chest as I walk to the door and hear my favorite sound. There he was, my little charmer, running towards me. He hugged me tight and said in verbatim:
“Ayaw iwan Atlas nanay”
(I don’t want you to leave, mom)
All hearts melted in the room. No videos, ig stories, or photos, but that moment was definitely etched in our memories.
I knew how time apart can make the heart grow fonder,
but I never knew how much it would make me more excited
to be back at mothering,
to bask in its magic,
and embrace all its madness,
with just one night.
Photos: Ralph Lee