Proximity & Parenting
It’s strange to type these words out but, “in the four plus years I have been a parent, these last consecutive four months have been the longest straight through I have been with my child”. Work travel and then divorced parenting arrangements made the scheduling often complicated and separated myself and G for days sometimes weeks at a time before.
The change in such close and consistent proximity has been both welcomed and difficult at times. While single parenting is not for the faint hearted the “breaks” I once were given from being a solo parent when G would stay with her grandparents (my ex in-laws) or at times kind friends that helped along the way because I had to head out on work adventures were well, just that “breaks”. Yes I was working but it was still time to myself for me to release some of the built up stresses solo and even at times co-parenting brings to us all. A break from parenting is a break no matter the reason behind it.
I do miss having consistent “me” time just as much as I’m missing traveling these days. G was always a trooper in my absences being spoiled most times by her hosts and having adventures of her own. She once reassured me in my absence when I told her “I was going to miss her” she replied “but why?! You always come back…?!”. She was obviously at times more adjusted to our time apart than I was haha!
Now though as we spend every single day in and out together things are shifting and the energy is changing between us. W and I have been full-time parents with G’s bio dad on the other side of the country. I think once since our move we’ve splurged on the baby sitter to head out with a friend from out of town for a spare few hours but really evening after evening and day after day it’s the same scene around here of family dinners, playdates, and adventures. Together 100% of a time. Considering we just became a family (the three of us that is) it’s new to us all.
But the bond that’s developing that’s incredible, not always easy, but incredible none the less. Sure life and illness has shaken us all up around here lately making us hold each other a little tighter but I’m finding myself lately literally intoxicated by my little girl. Now, don’t get me wrong I LOVE and have LOVED my girl with all my heart and soul since day one but there’s something about the bond you can form with a child with a close and consistent proximity that you just can’t when parted often. The consistency becomes addicting. Maybe I’m just for the first time in my adult (or otherwise) life experiencing real family love?
I find myself craving her snuggles only minutes after she’s went to bed. I breath in her stuffed toys with her smell not too differently than how I use to sniff the baby scented blankets of her infant days. I’ve even started having those scary parenting dreams again (common to new moms) where I stumble out of bed and carry her now long legged self into our own bed just to feel her close and safe till she wakes in the morning asking why she’s in our bed as she snuggles in closer with a happy little grin.
It’s like the closeness is making me fall in love all over again with this little girl and I just can’t get enough. And you know what? I love…love. While we do have travel plans on the horizon once I’m healthy again it will be nothing like the separation I had with her with my old job. Mostly it will be her leaving us soon to visit her bio dad in the summers. While I’m sure after I get over a bit of the pouts the “adult only time” will be welcomed but I’m not having fun these days thinking of being away from her.
I feel like it will be a life long struggle for us mothers to always be on, the fight to find that balance between our identity and the identity of being a mother. I’m a traveler at heart, a wanderer. But now, I’m tapping deeper into the home base of a mother within me. Now I understand so much better why people say: "They Always feeling like a piece of our heart is out there in the world walking around outside their body." I get it. Finally.