Back to Real Life.

As my first week back in the office, I expected last week to be awful. But it was easy peasy. I had very little to stress me out, plenty of time to socialize, and was able to head home seconds after 5:30 hit to be with my baby.

That gradual easing in period must have been my welcome back gift. Because on Monday morning, it ended. That’s when I kissed my husband and baby good bye and headed off to Louisville for my first post-baby business trip.

It was supposed to be a day trip. One that would find me safely home by the time the sun went down. But knowing the deadlines I was facing, I packed a bag anyway.

Sure enough, 6 p.m. found me calling a local hotel to book myself a room for the night. At first, I was kind of excited about having a night to myself. I could have a nice dinner out! And eat without a single interruption! And watch whatever I wanted on TV! And sleep for nine, ten hours!

That contentment lasted until the moment I stepped into my room after dinner. That’s when it hit me. I had nothing to do for the next twelve hours. I didn’t have to give Tori a bath. Or feed her. Or read her a book. Or put her to bed. Or feed the animals. Or make formula. Or walk the dog. Or torture my sleeping husband until he woke up enough to come to bed.

And man, did it feel lonely.

Of course, I immediately called home, and listened to Tori make cooing noises while my husband fed her. When she started crying mid-burp, so did I. Not because I thought she needed me, but because I couldn’t hold her while she threw her temper tantrum (it’s really funny).

That blubbering (mine, not hers) lasted until I finally hung up the phone. And started again while I was twittering, continued while I was facebooking and didn’t even stop completely when I turned on The Daily Show (and I love me my John Stuart).

Finally, I turned the air conditioning way down low, built myself a fluffy nest with all the pillows from both beds (my favorite part about having a hotel room to myself) and waited for sleep to come.

I waited a long time. Without the hum of the baby monitor in the background, the silence seemed too loud. And since I couldn’t get up to check to see if Tori was still breathing (as I normally do two, three times a night), I was convinced something terrible would happen to her. I picked up the phone to call Brian and make him do it about 10,000 times (but never actually did).

Finally, the night was over. I got through the day, pretending that yes, I slept well! And having a whole night to myself was great! And sure, I’m a strong, independent career woman – being away from my baby was no sweat!

I’m not sure anyone believed me.

I counted down the hours, the minutes, then the seconds until I could walk out the door, get in my car and come home. And when the time came, I tore out of there like the place was on fire.

The two and a half hour car ride felt like it lasted two years – especially since I was trying not to speed (I got a helluva ticket the last time I made that trip). But finally, I was home.

I raced inside, and after giving my husband a perfunctory kiss, grabbed the baby out of his arms. I had pictured a joyous homecoming, imagining that she had missed me as much as I missed her.

The reality? She gave me a half smile, then turned back to watch the ceiling fan as it spun (one of her favorite activities).

Brian, however, was very glad to see me. I think he’d prefer it if I never went out of town again (I don’t think he’ll get his wish). But at least now we know that when it happens again, we’ll all do just fine.

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