I am a happy mama tonight because Jason is home after a four-day business trip to Chicago. I've always known we were a good team, but when he was gone, I realized just how good a team we are. I always miss Jason--so much--when he leaves, but this time, I didn't just miss my hubby. I missed Hadley's daddy. I missed seeing him with her. I missed our nightly chat about all of the adorable things she does. And I missed the tag-team parenting.
I kept thinking, "I don't know how single parents do this," but if I'm honest, I have to say that I wasn't exactly a single parent. I had a lot of help. Mumsie practically moved in, and Granddaddy spent his evenings here, too, playing with Hadley, talking walks, doing dishes. Mumsie made us dinner every night, did loads upon loads of laundry, cleaned out my messy pantry. It was full-service grandparenting, and still, I was exhausted by Thursday night at midnight, when Jason opened the door and quietly dropped his suitcase on the floor.
I wasn't sure how Hadley would react to her daddy being gone. She seemed a little puzzled, especially when I did all of the things Daddy usually does (like put her down in her crib for the night), but she made it pretty easy on me. She is a gloriously happy baby. I'm amazed by how often she smiles, how content she is to play on her mat or roll around on her blanket, how willingly she cruises around the neighborhood park or the grocery store or any other place we need or want to go. People stop me all of the time to talk to us because Hadley flashes smiles to strangers; I think it's her way of getting their attention--and it works.
We're all together again tonight, and it feels so good. Tomorrow is Mumsie's birthday, so we'll have a little fete here in her honor. And tomorrow also marks the day, one year ago, when we saw Hadley on the ultrasound screen for the first time. I will always remember when the little embryo showed up on the screen and the doc said, almost immediately, "You're definitely pregnant." I said, "Um, I think I'm going to start crying"--which was silly because I was already crying. And she said--oh, how I love my doctor--"You should. It's a miracle. Every time, it's a miracle. Sometimes I even cry." And Jason, Dr. Dana and I stared lovingly at the little person who is now asleep in her room. I can't believe it's already been a year.
Tomorrow also marks the day when we wrapped up a Florida Gators onesie and a framed picture of the ultrasound photo, and gave them to my mom for her birthday. She held up the onesie for a long time--it felt like five minutes--and stared at it until I said, "You're going to be a grandma." And then she hugged me tight, and I'm pretty sure she and my dad have been grinning ever since.
Even in my exhaustion, this week felt good, special, humbling. Because the love I feel for Hadley was on display for me this week, as my parents, fueled by that indescribable love, took good care of me while I tried to take good care of Hadley. I think we all succeeded. And one day, if Hadley has children of her own, I will snuggle her babies, make the dinner, do the laundry and try to take good care of her still. Because, as my daddy always says, "Once you're a parent, you're always a parent." And that's a good thing, a very good thing.