We got married on August 21st.  We were so excited.  For months and months we had planned our honeymoon to Mexico.  A full week we thought.  AMAZING!  We booked the trip when our daughter was a little over 2 months old.  At a time when she did nothing but lay there, looks at us, cry for food or have ridiculously weird diapers.  At a time when we were beyond exhausted and could only dream of alone time in Mexico.

It seemed to take forever to get here.  All the while our daughter was growing up.  She was smiling, rolling, cooing sounds that made us giggle and laugh.  Eating solids and making a mess, and through it all her little personality was starting to shine through.  We were getting more sleep, our sanity was coming back. And even though neither of us admitted it, we loved every moment of every day.

Then it was here.  We said I do and the next thing we know we’re saying goodbye to our child.  We booked an early flight so it was 2 am when we headed to the airport.  I remember I couldn’t say goodbye the last time.  When she was awake I gave her a kiss and said a “see you later” goodbye so I didn’t lose it.  And when we left for the airport, I tried to pretend she wasn’t upstairs sleeping. I tried to pretend that I wouldn’t miss her.

And I was full of shit.

We boarded the plane and I was OK.  But as we moved down the runway to take off I lost it.  I’m not talking ugly cry here, but I couldn’t hold back the tears.  Because I knew there was no going back.  Once this plane took off I’d just get farther and farther away from her.

I spent the first few days of the trip trying not to think about it.  Trying to enjoy the alone time with my new husband.  Enjoying the sun, food and drinks as well as the entertainment at the resort.  Enjoying the idea that I didn’t have to rush around and pack a tiny suitcase to go anywhere.  There was no crying for food, or poop filled diapers.  It was just us.

Around the third day we were relaxing on the bed at night just talking about random non-child related things (like we used to, back when we weren’t parents, remember?) When he stopped, looked at me and said “I really miss her”.  I said I know I do too.  I was a bit surprised he actually admitted it.  After that, we couldn’t stop talking about her.

Every morning we got up and messaged Grandma to send us more pictures or a video.  Neither of us could stand not seeing her. We counted down the days until we went back home.

We arrived home in the middle of the night.  I remember walking into the room where she was asleep and looking at her.  She was so big!  How is it possible she grew so much in the 7 days that we were gone?  I couldn’t believe it.

I rolled her over and woke her up gently.  She opened her eyes, saw both of us and had the biggest smile I can remember seeing.  It melted my heart.

While it was so hard to leave our child, it helped my husband and I by having the time alone.  Being able to focus just on us, and even to miss our daughter together.  It was nice pretending for a while that it was just he and I.  But the truth is, we aren’t us without her.

Have any of you experienced this?  What did you do to cope?

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56 COMMENTS

  1. Wow what a powerful story. I can only imagine how intense being the parent of a young child is, but it is obvious that you are loving parents! Hopefully you can do some travel WITH your daughter soon! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I hear ya! We take an annual “grown ups only” trip every summer with our good friends. Although I love the trip and feel it is important for our relationship to spend time as a couple, it is HARD to leave the kids. I miss them daily. For the first few years, my son couldn’t even talk to me on the phone – it upset him so much. That was heartbreaking. Now, my MIL and SIL (who watch them for us) send picture after picture and that helps a lot.

    • That’s really nice of them! And yeah, you definitely need the “grown ups only” time. And it’s nice coming back to your kids, something to look forward to even when you’re headed home.

  3. I totally feel you on this. The first time we spent the night away from our older son was the night I was in the hospital having his younger brother. Even though it was just one night, I was only getting 30-45 minutes of sleep at a time, and he was with my MIL who is wonderful with him, Hubby & I missed him terribly.

  4. I can totally empathize. It is so hard to leave them. For me, it has only mildly gotten easier when they get older. My MIL takes the kids for a couple nights each month, and the house is just not the same without them. My hubby and I try to make the most of our alone time together. We know we have to nurture our relationship, but our discussions often lead back to the kiddos.

    • Oh good, at least it isn’t just us! Haha! Even when my parents take her for a night here and there, we end up talking about our daughter over dinner or later on. 🙂

  5. It is really hard to leave the kids when they are so small, but how wonderful that you and your husband were able to get away together for a little while.

  6. My husband and I take little trips here and there and I think he misses the kids more than I do. When I get back I can’t wait to hug them and they always look so much bigger even though I’ve only been gone for two days. Sometimes it’s nice to get away so I can have the opportunity to miss them, if that makes sense.

    • Hi Heather, Thanks for that! And it totally makes sense. You forget about the frustration I think, and remember all the happy moments and want to get back to it.

  7. I enjoyed reading your post. Leaving kids is tough. Pictures and Skype help!

    I’m glad that you were able to enjoy a fun trip with your husband! That time is so important!

  8. I don’t think that any of us parents are us without our children. Being away from my children is something I have difficulty with. I just miss them so much that I can’t have a good time…because they are my good time! I’ve never been away from my children for that long. The most was 3 days and it felt like months had gone by! I know it is important to get that alone time for mommy and daddy but boy does it really make you miss those hectic days with your kids 😉 I wouldn’t trade those days for in anything! Congrats on your new life, it’s going to be a blast!

    • It definitely does. And no matter what you miss them like crazy that’s for sure. Thanks so much Monica!

  9. Well. The only time I have been away since my oldest son was born (almost 8 years ago!) was when I have been in the hospital having his sisters or a couple Ladies Conference trips that lasted 2 days. I REALLY need a getaway with my husband. Our anniversary is coming up in November, and we had been planning a 3 night getaway, just the 2 of us, because our youngest will be almost a year. But she is showing no interest in solid food and refuses to take a bottle, so I don’t know if we will be able to leave her in November. He suggested we take her along-but that kind of defeats the whole purpose of a getaway with my hubby, doesn’t it? So we will see…but I totally understand how much you miss your children when you are away. They become your whole life and when they aren’t around it feels like something isn’t right. Great post!

  10. As a non-mom, I still can’t imagine missing a baby on vacation. haha 🙂 I do miss my cats but I put them in the best care and try not to dwell. Lots of snuggles when we return, though.

  11. Let me tell you… I am a mom of 3. My oldest is almost 10, my middle is 7 1/2, and my youngest is 2 1/2. I STILL get emotional and teary eyed when my almost 10 year old goes to spend the night at her grandparents. Them going to school or spending a day with someone else isn’t a big deal for me, it helps me keep what little sanity I have left, but overnights? That’s a whole other ball game. I don’t know that I could ever go out of state lines without them!

  12. Parental love – I can totally understand how you fell with the pull of wanting to be in almost 2 places at once. It’s hard to leave your baby especially when she’s still a baby. One night is all I can take. My little girl goes to daycare and we miss her terribly.
    Innate love. Glad you were able to take some time because no matter what it’s needed.
    Myriam

  13. We have only been away from our daughter for a couple of hours at a time and even with that, we really missed her. We end up doing pretty much everything together with her, because we all just enjoy being around each other.

  14. What a moving post. I’ve only been away from my baby once and it was so hard. I can definitely see how it was important for you and your new husband to have that alone bonding time as a newly married couple, and definitely also understand how you are not you without the baby. The whole family is a unit now 🙂

  15. It is so hard to leave your kids but it really is a good thing!! Especially for you, Mom! Nice that you all got to enjoy a little vacation 🙂

  16. Hey Catrina, what a wonderful post. I felt your joy when you gently woke up your beautiful miracle and the great big smile that would have come over her face, just reading it melted my heart. I don’t know, maybe a week away just to have that sort of joy fill every piece of your soul was worth it alone.

    Rachel.

  17. This is so sweet! I can relate to that feeling all to well. When our daughter was a few months old my husband and I went out on a date and a very similar thing happened between us. We know that time alone together is vital for us.

  18. I don’t know a parent who hasn’t been there. To be honest, the boy is 9 now and I still miss him like mad every time I’m away from him at a conference.

  19. What a sweet story, and so true! When our oldest was an infant we took a trip without him, and even though I knew he was having fun with his aunt and cousins, I missed him every moment we were gone. This was before the era of cell phone pictures and Skype, so we made frequent phone calls, at least once in the morning and once at night to check in and talk with him (well, he just made some googly noises and we pretended he was responding to us!) Every parent goes through it, and it sounds like you did a great job. Thanks for the lovely memory!

  20. Aww, it’s sooo hard leaving your child at first, and especially so young! I remember thinking about leaving my firstborn for a few days when she was um, maybe a yr and a half? But even still, I just couldn’t do it!

    However, now with two kids, I find it easier to leave. Maybe cause I’m more desperate to get away, ha ha. Or maybe just because I’m more confident that the kids will be fine without me…and that I’ll be fine without them? My 2nd, a son, is now 17 months old, but just since July even, I’ve taken three trips away from him, for 3 days, 5 days, and 2 days respectively. I missed my kids sure, but it wasn’t as hard this time around, whereas I don’t think I could’ve left my first for that long at this age.

    Congrats on your new baby!

  21. I TOTALLY feel you!! I have a 19 months old. Life changes so much with a baby but I just can’t imagine having it any other way! It’s so amazing to be a parent. Oh it’s DIFFICULT but so worth it.

  22. I think that must have been incredibly hard to leave her! You nailed the emotions and as a mom-of-many, I totally get it.

  23. My sister was the same way when her daughter was younger, I think they waited a while before leaving her for more than a few days. But eventually it got easier, the “baby” is now 23 married and probably make my sis a grandmother soon. Then the cycle repeats all over again.

    Congrats on your many blessings!

  24. I know exactly how you felt. I think it is very good for the marriage to get grown-up time (and I love Mexico), but you can’t help missing kids (I have 2 older daughters) and worrying about them Enjoy every minute. XS

  25. I couldn’t imagine how you felt – I didn’t spend the first night away from my daughter until she was almost three (other than at the hospital when I had her brother). I didn’t have my first kid free night until my daughter was almost 5. It is great when we sneak alone time but we always end up talking about the kids too – we are a family and things don’t feel quite right when pieces are missing!

  26. I can totally relate. We never went anywhere with our daughter. Looking back, we should have taken some “us” time but it just never occurred to us. Glad it went well.

  27. I think all parents go through this at some point in their lives. I went through it when all three of my girls were born and now with the oldest in college I am still going through it. Hang in there mom.

  28. I can totally relate to how you felt. My kids are 14, 9, and 7 and every time we leave our kids we feel the same. We think we will be excited for the freedom but the entire time we are going there is this feeling that something is missing. They are missing. Having adult only time is important we just do it as date nights. Luckily, neither one of us has to travel for work often.

  29. It’s hard for me to even remember the time before I was a mom! When I try to think about having alone time with my husband, it seems like a whole other life that happened once upon a time. 🙂 It’s good that you had that trip with your husband, but also sweet that you could bond together as parents, too. Babies change everything!

  30. Totally agree with everything you’ve said, though my kids are well past that stage. Now it’s the worries that come when they drive off by themselves for the first time, go to prom for the first time, off to college. Except now it’s them saying goodbye and leaving instead of us. Nice post!

  31. I can relate . My husband and I made it a point to leave our kids with my parents while we went on trips and dates. My husband never left his parents side growing up and he wanted out children to experience time away from us, as well as give us time alone. My kids are 6 & 7 now, but I still miss them when we take small trips.

  32. Aw. I know the feeling! Ours is 2 and if we are away from her for very long, it drives us crazy. And you are so right- “we aren’t us without her”!

  33. I can totally relate. Our kids are 9, 6 and 3. We left them this summer for a long weekend and it was so difficult. But the time my hubby and I shared was amazing. Quiet car rides, dinner without interruptions, bonding. It was worth the worry of leaving the kiddos. Important to every marriage.

  34. I remember going through that and still have a hard time leaving my child and he is 15. I think we eventually build a trust for certain people to watch our kids when we’re away. Then we tend to not be as anxious when our child is with that person. Also, know that you deserve time away the combination of those two things can help a great deal.

  35. I don’t have children yet but I do have a dog who is like my baby. I know this may sound crazy but when we are away from him for a few days I miss him so much! I can’t imagine what it will be like once I have children.

  36. I know EXACTLY how you feel!! Last fall my husband and I went on a cruise. My son was 17 months old then. I tried not thinking of him and for the first 2 days I enjoyed the time with my husband, but after that I was definitely counting down the days and couldn’t wait to see him again!! Now we have 2 little guys. We plan on going out of town for 2 nights the weekend of our anniversary. We’ll see how that goes (my youngest is 7 months old now).

  37. We went to Paris for our honeymoon (two years after we said “I do”) by then we had a 1 year old. We left her with Grandma and Grandpa. Every child we saw when we were there, we thought of her. It seemed like families were everywhere.
    I’m not sure we really coped. We haven’t had that big of a vacation with the kids since, but when we go away for just a weekend I’m extremely thankful for facetime.

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