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Independence Day Came Early this Year

I went on a three-day business trip. Not long for mommy, but long for a three year old. That’s what the experts say anyway.

Did my daughter miss me?

Not enough to stop watching Arthur and meet me upon my return. Come sit with me and watch Arthur, mommy she said. But first can you get me water. With ice. Meaning mommy, go back downstairs for a couple of minutes and then come back. Maybe she was imagining it would be commercial time by then.

She wasn’t dismissive or angry when I got home either. She didn’t act out. Not 5 minutes after I got home, or 5 hours. She didn’t make an I’m Angry at Mommy drawing like the ones you see on Law & Order.

My cat was more upset with my being gone. He threw up on my blanket to show me.

I’ve read that for small children separation can be disturbing. That they need consistent face-to-face, hand-holding contact with a primary attachment figure. Maybe because Grammy is with her all day, as I work, Grammy is that primary attachment figure. However, Grammy’s been away for a few days here and there and I took Pen to Disney myself, and we’ve had no problems there.

I’m now having the disorder. What do you mean my daughter had no issues when I was gone? Nothing she needed mommy to look at. No clothes she needed me to help pick. No school bullies to cry about. She told me about swimming and yoga class, ballet and going with Grammy to the hairdresser. When I was her age, plus 6-8 years, I’d call my mom to pick me up from friend’s houses during sleepovers. I thought my parents were going to move during the night and not tell me where they had gone.

Really though, I’m happy about this. I should be happy about this. I have an independent and capable daughter. She can walk into a new classroom and make friends. She doesn’t cling to my leg. Maybe it’s us working moms who have the leg up. My child has learned to trust that other people - carefully chosen people - will take care of her and that mommy will come back.

Next time, though, I want to take her with me. It was so hard for me to be away from her.