My First Time Away From Max

This weekend I am traveling for business and it will be the first time I’ll be away from Max.  All week I’ve been joking that it’ll be great to get a good night’s sleep.  Joke is on me…I’m heartbroken.  Due to a miscommunication Kate thought I was leaving today and not tomorrow.  She decided that since I was going to be out of town it would be a great time for her to drive home to Iowa to see the family and show off Max to all her family friends.  Yesterday we realized that she was leaving a day early.  My heart sank.  I know I have been posting about how hard it can be to father a breast-feeding newborn baby but dammit I love him more than I can ever put into words and I’d rather spend a lifetime with my crying son than no time with him at all.

I woke up this morning and felt the sadness rush over me.  I was on time for work and even had potential to go in early if need be.  The thought of not spending time with him killed me so I immediately resigned to go in later this morning and stay later tonight.  Besides…Kate needed help packing if she was ever going to get on the road.  Max rewarded my decision by giving me the best morning I’ve had since the day he was born.

The awesomeness began last night when I came home from work to find a very happy boy cooing on the couch.  Between breast-feeding he sat on my lap for burps, spit-ups, and general fun.  He was in top form that night and in one of his better moods.  I soaked it up knowing he would be gone in the morning.  He showed signs of sleepiness right on schedule and I took him upstairs to get ready for bed.  Kate looked down at her dress which had a big stain on it and said, “Max, how did you manage to ninja puke on me?”  I looked at the stain and immediately knew what had happened.  I turned to Kate, “Babe…that’s not breast-milk.”  Max had thunder-crapped so hard it had spilled out the side of his Cookie Monster diapers like a mustard cookie dough experiment gone wrong in the Sesame Street kitchen.  His first blowout.  I looked down at my shirt…yup.  Poo.

After a very messy diaper change that boasted a water fountain feature (pee), Max was swaddled in his cow print blanket and ready for his goodnight meal.  After eating he usually falls asleep on Kate’s bare chest but tonight I stole him over to mine where he gorgeously drifted off to sleep while grasping firmly onto my shirt.  I passed out too and woke about 30 minutes later to find an adorable sack of cuteness asleep on  me.  It’s that kind of sleep where you lift his arm and let it go…and it thunks to his side without waking him.  Out cold.  I transferred him to the crib and drifted off to sleep.  Max slept in 4 hour chunks, as did Kate.

This morning I immediately took him and played with him in bed while Kate packed and finished up the laundry.  Max puked on me.  I cleaned it up.  Then he projectile vomited on me.  I laughed hysterically which prompted a smile from Max as well.  From here on out Max smiled all morning long in his daddy’s arms.  We sang, we tickled, we rubbed noses, we smiled, we laughed, and quite simply had the greatest two hours together.  It was the best morning of my life.  We took a shower together and got his hair nice and soft for the grandparents.  He smiled the whole time, happy to be in Daddy’s arms.  After the shower we lotioned him up and he snuggled back into my arms where I held and sang to him for 20 minutes.  He was perfectly calm.  Then, for the first time since the day after he was born, he fell asleep in my arms.  In my arms!  He always falls asleep in Kate’s arms…not mine.

He took a quick nap while I loaded the car for Kate and checked the oil.  I made sure Kate had plenty of snacks, water, etc.  Then…it was time to say goodbye.  I picked up my son, he nuzzled into me, fell back asleep, and I began to cry.  Tears poured down my face as I held this little man in my arms knowing I wouldn’t see him again for 4 days.  Of course Kate began to cry, then I cried a little more.  I nuzzled my nose into his soft hair and breathed in his wonderful smelling goodness one more time.  I squeezed him one more time.  I placed him in the car seat where he immediately vomited one more time.  I battled my tears and placed him in the back seat of the car, kissed his forehead, kissed Kate, and watched as they backed down the driveway.  I walked through the house and out onto the front porch as they drove past and waved goodbye.  Kate waved back.  Then they disappeared around the corner and were gone.  I slinked back inside the house and bawled.  It was the loneliest feeling in the world.

Hugging Max Goodbye One Last Time

I bawled when my college girlfriend left me for a kid from Brown University.  I bawled when my Aunt passed away from lung cancer in her 40’s.  I bawled when my best friend fired me the week before Christmas in 2007 after our friendship had a falling out.  I felt hopeless in those situations…like things would never be good again.  Those are lonely moments.  This morning was lonelier which is odd because I know I will see them again in 4 days…there is hope.  However, I bawled.  I miss my son.  I miss my wife.  I hate being away from them.

I pulled myself together and made the drive to work.  I know it’ll be over before I know it and we’ll all be back together again.  Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier…I need to keep myself distracted.  I flipped on the car radio to find Bill Monroe singing Lonesome Road.  Yup.  You are correct Bill, very lonesome.

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