Seven weeks is a long time.
It’s a lot of garbage days (I hate, hate taking out the garbage, especially since we have a crew of vindictive raccoons who have made it their agenda to bust into the garbage cans of everyone on our street, spreading trash all over the place and laughing maniacally whilst wearing hats). Seven weeks is a lot of grocery store visits and pharmacy trips. It’s a ton of bills. Seven weeks is so long that your brain turns to inoperable mush.
Chris came home yesterday, after being away for seven weeks on a film shoot. I don’t discuss much about his job here because it’s his news to share, but for the last two months, it has been hard not to discuss his absence, since it was affecting everything about my life. Normally, our respective business trips are short. For me, being away for a full week is a tremendously long time, and that is an anomaly. For Chris, his travel jaunts are less frequent but usually longer, sometimes dipping into the eight – ten day away range. This is something we’ve learned to handle, as a family.
But seven weeks? Eff that.
Seven weeks is a long time to spend thinking about single parents and to build up even more respect for them, as the experience redefined “challenging” for me. And I only experienced simulated single-parenting, my husband away but with a timeline for return. It was while he was gone that I revisited the post-pregnancy feeling of not knowing whose needs to tend to first: mine, or my daughter’s?
Unless I was away for work, I went to sleep every night with Birdy sharing a bed with me. (Which was fine, except for the nights when she had a nightmare and would wake us both up, hollering about “the lemons are watching me!!” or the mornings when I’d wake up with the help of her tiny hands prying open my eyelids. “Good morning, Mawm!”) Every morning kicked off with a Birdy focus, unlike regular mornings, where the first thing I do is test my blood sugar and then go retrieve the kid, knowing I have Chris as back-up. Good diabetes habits that I have forced (and then enjoyed) for the last year or so went a bit pfffft as Birdy became the focus and I was flying solo.
“But your health needs to come first, so that you can best care for your daughter.”
Shut up; I tried. Everything was a circus. For five of the weeks of Chris’s trip, I was finishing up final edits on a book I’m writing (submitted to the publisher two weeks ago – more on that later!), which meant that once Birdzone was in the sleepzone, I was up until all hours, combing through pages to tweak content. And the last two weeks of Chris’s trip included two trips for work, leaving my daughter under the capable (and so appreciated) watch of my mother. “A good night’s sleep” was a laughable goal. “Exercise” became either chasing my daughter while she rode her bike at a breakneck speed or brief stints on the ellipmachine in the basement (because going to the gym/for a run while she was awake wasn’t an option, and most times I was so spent that I couldn’t eek out much in terms of exercise). Emails went unanswered. Deadlines were pushed. Pigtails were installed at uneven angles. Bananas ripened and rotted due to neglect.
(But we always had gluten-free banana bread baking, because that has become a favorite past-time of the Bird’s. So there was that.)
Diabetes became like a second kid, only one I don’t want to snuggle with. It needs to be walked. Fed. Checked on and monitored. It’s a needy little sucker. When it whined and needed tending to, I had to explain to my daughter why we needed to wait a few minutes.
“Do you have whoa bwoodsugar? Your Dexcom is howering [hollering].” Birdy asked me when I was popping glucose tabs into my mouth, car keys in my hand.
The term “whoa bwoodsugar” took on a whole new meaning when I was solely responsible for my daughter. Being a parenting soloist for seven weeks made diabetes management pretty freaking tricky. I’m thankful Chris is home now, because for the duration of his absence, my target blood sugar went from 150 mg/dL instead of 100 mg/dL, in efforts to avoid hypoglycemia while I was the only adult in the house. My meter average followed suit, which was a frustrating increase after so many months in a comfortable zone, but I knew it was a temporary fix. My job was/remains to take good care of my kid, and that’s hard for me to accomplish when I’m low as all hell. It was an enlightening (read: WTF) experience, and one that, for all of its challenges, I’m glad I proved to myself that I could handle, thanks in large part to friends and family, and the blessings of a flexible job.
But, for a dozen different reasons, I’m so glad Chris is back. Because, at the end of the day, he’s the one who gave those hats to the raccoons in the first place, so he should be the one doing battle with them.