It’s been a crazy few weeks for the Kalmes clan. Â First, we moved to Seattle, real quick-like, a subject I hope to address in greater length in a future post. Â Then, almost as soon as we were settled in a new apartment, Story and I took off againâ€”this time to Texas for a dear friend’s baby shower.
It was the first time I had traveled with Story alone, and it was somewhat of a revelation. Â The first moment that I knew that something had truly changed was when I was walking through the SeaTac airport, humping thirty pounds of baby and carseat to our departure gate, and we passed a magazine store. Â I know that just a few months ago, I would have thought, “Ah, if only I could go in there and browse for magazines without having to lug the kid around. Â That would be… so… sweet.”
This time? Â It didn’t phase me. Â Yes, I kind of wanted to look at mags, and yes, I knew I’d have an easier time of it if I didn’t have Story along. Â But it just didn’t bother me. Â Nor did it trouble me unduly when she yakked up on my shoulder before boarding, or when she made her morning Monster Diaper immediately before takeoff.
Sure, I recognized these things as inconveniences. Â But they had become inconveniences that were knit into the fabric of my life, like television commercials or waiting through red lights. Â I just couldn’t get too fussed about them.
And then I got to Texas, had a lovely time with friends and family, and something else happenedâ€”something scary.
I didn’t miss Mark.
I mean, I missed him. Â I was looking forward to seeing him again, and would have been delighted if that event could have been hastened by even so much as an hour. Â But I am used to feeling Mark’s absence, whenever I’m away from him, as a sort of perpetual drag on my happiness. Â Like, “Gosh, I’m having fun. Â If only Mark were here…” Â This time, that just didn’t happen.
Which surprised me. Â Being with Story is not remotely fulfilling in the same way that being with Mark is. Â Story doesn’t pay attention to my needs. Â She doesn’t share my sense of humor or provide a sounding board for my concerns. Â She isn’t the person I can turn to at the end of the day and share those innermost thoughts I can speak to no one else.
In fact, most of what she gives me right now is work. Â And worry. Â And the weight of responsibility. Â But being with her fills me up, in a way I hadn’t really anticipated. Â When I’m with her, I just can’t be lonely.
So, where is my Mom Badge? Â I think I’m really in the club.