My baby is five now. Almost six. There is no breastfeeding. I am not exactly needed for day to day things as much anymore. This message has become more clear lately than ever before. My daughter needed me when she slammed her finger in the car door the other day. She did not need me to open a package the other day.
“I have it, Mommy!” she said, as she grabbed it out of my hand.
My heart hurts a little. She spent the day at the beach yesterday with her day camp. When I dropped her off, I panicked a little. How would they know what she needed? How would they protect her? I took a deep breath and said a prayer. She is growing up and has become more independent. She no longer needs her mommy hovering over her.
“Mommy, I am going to miss you so much! Can’t you stay home?” she pleaded with me, wrapping her arms around my legs.
“I can’t stay home, Honey Bear. I am going to work. I have a conference to go to.”
She hung her head down and looked down at her shoes. I hugged her and gave her a kiss on her cheek. I winced as I got into the car. It took me about 15 minutes to shake the guilt of leaving her. This weekend is for me and it is difficult to rationalize something for me.
As I sit through the conference today, one of the common threads is that as women, we take care of everyone else first. I am taking time for myself—for my personal and professional growth. The guilt is there, yet I know I am allowed to do this for me. I am giving myself permission.
I will miss my five year old, almost six year old baby the next couple days. I imagine the paraffin hand treatment, massage, parties, and networking with fabulous women will take my mind away. At the same time, I am counting down the days for more hugs and kisses.