Mo was away this past weekend, which like many things, was hard and also wonderful. I was able to reconnect with Ben in some quiet moments, and I had the head space to observe the situations that made me the most reactive. I felt like I was clearer about my boundaries because I had to be. I forced myself to keep the apartment cleaner so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed at the end of the day. I took note of what triggered my anxiety the most and tried to acknowledge those feelings rather than judge myself or fight them away. Mo was working for the first part of the trip and visiting with friends and family for the second part, and I felt happy that he was taking a minute to himself. He has been extremely busy and stressed at work, which is hard for me too because I have a simultaneous wish that I could be more helpful to him and ask him for more help myself. As always, life is a balancing act.
The kids and I dropped Mo off at the airport Thursday morning, a decision I immediately regretted when I saw the traffic heading in the direction I would need to travel home. Ella has never been a fan of the car, so I try not to wear out her patience too much. I decided to go with the flow and stop at our favorite park on the way back and let rush hour pass without us. The weather was cool, like a chilly fall day up north, so Ben borrowed my pink scarf and we had the playground all to ourselves. Ella was thrilled to have the opportunity to crawl all over the play set without having to dodge stomping feet and squealing kids. Ben was happy that I was able to play knights in shining armor with him because Ella was entertaining herself. We had so much fun I don’t have any photos! I was really proud of myself for actually enjoying playing at the park. Little by little I feel like I am inhabiting my life more.
From there we took it moment by moment. Some of those moments were tough, but most of the time it was pretty mellow and fine. I noticed that some of the same times of day that are difficult when all of us are home were still difficult, and some were not as hard as I thought they would be. Getting out of the house is always hard, and it was still just as difficult. In the evenings I put on a movie for Ben while I put Ella to bed (I lay down and nurse her to sleep so it can be a time when he is apt to make mischief), which was helpful.
On Sunday I was pretty fried, having stayed up too late doing laundry and watching Crazy Stupid Love (great move!) the night before. I was surprised by an early wake up call from my little peanut and I really just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I lost my patience with Ben a few times when it really wasn’t necessary and I felt badly that I was harsh with him. I apologized and tried to be honest with him by saying that I was tired and I didn’t have much patience, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t mean anything to a four year old!
I felt so much better once we got out of the house and went to Ella’s friend Moon’s birthday party in South Beach. The weather was cool and sunny and we got to sit in the grass and spend time with a bunch of new friends. We have been really fortunate to connect recently with a group of people who are from all different backgrounds, with the common thread of being down to earth, focused on healthy living, and really devoted to their kids. It was a sweet moment for me to watch Ben run around playing soccer with some older boys while Ella socialized with a few other babies her age. I felt like the kids and I were a family, and that we have friends here. I finally feel like we are really making our home here in Miami and it was the first time I felt really settled, like I actually want to be here, rather than just getting through to the next thing.
After a long afternoon of playing we made our way home and Uncle Yoni came over to hang out with Ben while I put Ella to bed. A little concentrated special Ben attention was just what the doctor ordered. I could tell that Ben felt extra loved and by the time Mo came home there was a peaceful atmosphere. I wanted him to come home and feel that we had had a good weekend. He knew we missed him but I wanted him to know that we were okay. As a stay at home mom it can be tempting sometimes to be a bit of a martyr when the working dad comes through the door. While of course I’m honest with Mo when I’ve had a hard day, I want to make an effort to offer him a bit more calm for at least a few minutes upon his arrival.
Here are some photos from the party