It Shouldn’t Feel Wrong to Admit I’m Alone and Happy in Hawaii

Hawaii Surf... Ahhhhh

Today, as it has for the past two days, the calendar on the wall in our house says Mama Away in blue magic marker.  “Mama go Auntie” my kids would say as I rehearsed with them that I would be leaving and when I would be returning.  I never expected my newly two year-old twins to get how many days I’d be gone, or even that the blue marker means mama is away and the green means mama is here.  The big takeaway was supposed to be mama WILL be back.

“Mama go Auntie” is toddler for me flying to Hawaii to sing in a close friend’s wedding.  Because that’s why I’m here, to sing, right?  It would be wrong to disappoint a close friend.  I’ve found myself doing a lot of rationalizing over the past weeks when the topic of my trip has come up.  But I’ll tell you the truth – as I sit here in a quiet hotel room listening to waves crash outside my window.  I am not here on some kind of mission of mercy, to throw myself on the sword, leaving my babies to fend for themselves with no one but their totally capable father, as well as grandfather, grandmother and babysitter.  I am here because I won the fucking twin mommy lottery.  At the perfect time, just when I need it most, just when I thought I was going to explode with restlessness and tedium, a close friend asked me to sing in her wedding in Hawaii.

Two days ago I walked through the airport all alone, boarded a plane for a ten hour flight, which I spent deliciously, luxuriously unplugged and alone.  No internet, no phone, no patients, no demanding toddlers, no husband wanting to know why I’m so “prickly” lately.  I can remember 5 hours into the flight, after I had done a crossword puzzle, napped, and read, thinking to myself how happy I was that I still had five hours left.

The last time I rode a plane without toddlers was before my pregnancy.  It felt completely unworthy of comment at the time, even inconvenient.  You would think I would have been eager to arrive in Hawaii, but the funny thing is I don’t think Hawaii was even real to me at that moment.  All that was real to me was time.  This long, delicious stretch of uninterrupted, unplanned time with no demands.

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Postpartum… Party?

Ahhhh..... bed rest.

My twins were four months old. Prior to their birth I spent three months on bed rest, and the four months before that too nauseous to do much. The months preceding those, well, those were spent in the panicked whirlwind that overtakes an aspiring mother when she is told that she will never have biological children. So a few shorts months into motherhood, I had had it, and came to the very ill-timed conclusion that I was ready to party.

Remember college? I am still not over it. If I could go back right now, I would. Oh the debauchery I never engaged in, and oh, the sex I could have had! Where were my priorities?!

So during late-night breast-pumping sessions, and after the twelfth diaper change of the day, I found my mind engaged in this fantasy about, well… partying. Where could I go, and most importantly, what could I drink when I got there? After all, partying really isn’t partying when one is tiptoeing around the house so as not to wake two newborns, rummaging through the remains of bygone barbeques for leftover alcohol. Besides, the one thing I needed more than a drink was to get out of the house!

Some friends were not quite down with the whole baby thing yet, and others just didn’t seem that keen on partying “quickie”-style in between breast pumping sessions with a ragged, un-showered shell of my former self, still recovering from surgery and sporting some nasty stomach rolls and baggy maternity clothes.

Dang! What’s a girl to do? Enter mommies. Kindred spirits who would surely comprehend my unflinching desire to run away and pretend that we can, in fact, go back to college, even for just two delusional hours between feedings.

Thus began my love affair, (and eventual disillusionment) with Mommies. Mommies truly are amazing (even despite being at times mind-numbingly boring). How do they do the things they do? Hell, how do they do anything on that little sleep? And most amazing of all, most incredibly, inhumanly amazing are the twin mommies, many of whom, going it almost entirely alone, devote their every waking hour (and there are no sleeping hours) to the care of not one, but two needy babies.

I had felt “gotten” by these twin mommies in ways that had literally saved my life during a trying, frightening pregnancy, and four months of sleepless twin hell. They taught me almost everything I knew about the logistics of being a mother of twins, as I read hundreds of their posts on our twin mommy yahoo group during my bed rest.

And so I began to attend my new version of “parties” – the playgroup. Yes, our kids were only 4-5 months old. It was us who need the play, we were ravenous for it! So we packed up our double breast pumps and pumping pillows, we gathered our millions of children and their tons of gear, we squeezed all that crap into our Saturns (um, okay, that was just me, for the rest, it was mini-vans) and whether we’d showered yesterday or last week and whether our hair was brushed or not, we met up for some much, much needed girl talk replete with plenty of laughter, and just a little alcohol (shhh!).

And if in my desperation, I left some basic and rather critical aspects of my personality out of it, so be it.

Bottoms up, I would play the good little mommy, for now.

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