Confession: Since having Nolie we have been on 0 dates in our hometown.
Whenever we make it down to visit my parents in Seattle they make a point to kick us out and on our own and everytime it is completely incredible. Holding hands and walking quickly from shop to shop, coffee to dinner and just aimlessly wandering. We adore each others company and always lose sight of that somewhere between Seattle and home.
I don’t leave Nolie with anyone. Until very recently she had never been left alone with anyone other than my parents (and Charlie, obviously). I am protective, worrisome and constantly going over the worse case scenarios. I have built up huge anxiety over leaving her. I have made my own fears, problems and memories (of friends stories) into hers.
I have been blessed with a little girl who has never has seperation anxiety and would go home with any of my Mom friends who she recognizes. She regularly swaps my arms for theirs when we are with them and wants to be cuddled, kissed and played with by them. She doesn’t balk when I leave for the restroom and when I leave to bookclub or any other evening activity and she is with Charlie she gives me a waves, sometimes, and keeps on playing without a blink.
And yet? I resisted leaving her.
My fears and anxiety have been fueled by so many friends and strangers (online, bad idea to read those) stories that started with “at camp. . . ” or “with a baby sitter. . . ” or “in the church nursery. . . “. You know the stories and how they make you shudder and hold your baby tighter and closer that night when you rock them to sleep. But I let them creep in deeper than that. Affect my parenting, my trusting, my friends and ultimately my autonomy.
It didn’t seem OK to want autonomy for so long. My life has been inbedded in Nolie for the past two years and I didn’t realized how much I was being drained by that. My once a month bookclub left me so rejuvinated and beyond filled but only for a week or so and then I just noticed the contrast all the more.
So when a friend recently started a Moms Group (kind of a bible study, support of types) at our church I was gung ho! Till I realized it was “with child care provided”. Childcare that she (my dear friend) had found, trusted and told me was good. And yet? I held on.
It nearly kept me from joining the group. Despite knowing how desperately I needed that hour to myself to sit and journal and pray and write to God the stuff that had been filling up my head and pouring out my eyes in dreams all these nights. (Have I mentioned I have been having nightmares recently? They are horrible.) But I took Nolie with me the first day and fully intended on checking on her every few minutes, having Charlie walk past the room to make she she is OK (Charlie works at our church where the study takes place) and leaving if there was even a hint of discomfort on her (lets be honest, my) part. But I took her into the room where the kids were meeting and she bee-lined for the doll house without so much as a wave. I told her I was leaving and would be next door. Kissed her on the head and walked out.
The hour passed and I was poured out to God in this little homemade journal. My thankfulness (too meager) and my confessions (too long). My prayers for Nolie and this new baby growing in me and my prayers for myself as a person, woman and mother. I was poured out and filled all in the same breath.
I walked into the kid room and Nolie was where I had left her, minus her shoes and hair clip, still arranging her dolls “usin’ potty!” “eatin’!” and happy to have been left alone to play. She did so well. Of course she did.
Since then we have gone each week and she has played and had so much fun. Exclaiming “doll house!” each time we get to Church. Her confidence is growing and so is mine. We have still yet to go on a date here at home, but I am seeing it creep up on our horizon. Nolie is talkative, incredible and loving. I am growing, changing and gaining autonomy. Together we are learning to trust.