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Why Mama Needs to Be Alone

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Mama needs to be alone now. Not for too long, just a couple of days. Really, you won't even notice that she is gone. OK, maybe you will. But really, it's for the best. You see, there are things mama likes to do that she just doesn't get to do anymore now that you are around, like, all the time.

Like what? Oh, just silly things. It's really nothing. But if you really must know...

First, when mama gets to the hotel, she is going to take a long, long, shower. Alone. Oh, actually, she will first pee. Again, alone. Then the shower. Very long. Very hot. She will shampoo, condition, shave, lather, maybe even use a leave-in hair treatment. Fancy, good-smelling stuff, not the stuff with Spiderman on it.

Then she is going to stand in front of the mirror for a long time, examining every freckle and dimple and pimple. This will happen without anyone pulling off her towel, or jiggling her butt and laughing. She will tweeze, moisturize, massage. Then she is going to dry her hair. No wet ponytail, not today. She will use a nice, light styling foam, maybe a little smoothing gel for those errant, frizzy curls. A light spritz of hair spray. Ah, much better!

While all of this is going on, she is going to think. She is not going to think about next week's pickup and drop-off schedule, or dinner, or laundry, or doctor's appointments, or fine motor skills, or preschool, or playdates. No. I mean, it's hard to predict what one will think about while tweezing eyebrows and drying hair, but she will do her best to think big, grown-up thoughts: the meaning of life, career paths, love, the state of marriage, writing. All of the good stuff.

While still thinking about all of these important things, she will put on big-girl clothes. No jeans. No yoga pants. No sweatshirts. Everything she'll wear will be totally impractical: shoes with buckles and laces and high heels -- because guess what? She doesn't have to kick them off at preschool drop-off. Delicate fabrics. Patterns that would, indeed, show off snot and spit-up marks if there were any nearby. Ha! Not today! She might even make the effort and wear Spanx. But probably not. Definitely jewelry -- preferably all of her pointy, sharp rings and long earrings. Make-up that's not Chapstick. Perfume. The whole shebang.

Then comes the most exciting part: Mama is going to eat dinner. And by eat I mean luxuriously linger over cocktails, appetizer, main course, cheese plate, dessert, a nice dessert wine, possibly a cappuccino. And by dinner I mean food that isn't fried, wasn't prepared in under 30 minutes, isn't bite-sized and doesn't come from a child-size plate.

And during dinner she is going to have a nice chat with other adults. I mean, she loves the little talks about superheroes, the playground, and she really, truly enjoys explaining why most fire trucks are red or why the leaves fall from the trees, or why the squirrels ate your pumpkin. She really does. But she is going to talk about politics. And books. And movies. And I bet the people around her will tell great stories and jokes that don't involve the word "fart" or "butt" or "poopyhead." And most amazing of all, she is going to talk in full sentences. She will not be interrupted, or lose her train of thought. She will be eloquent and funny and the life of the party.

She is not sure if the evening could get any better, but I am certain that it will. Because after dinner mama will retreat to her dark, empty hotel room and flop herself on a huge, fluffy bed. She will have complete control of the remote and the TV and she will stay up probably too late watching shows that don't involve the letter "S" brought to her by monsters, or dragons, or dinosaurs, or anyone named Thomas or Bob or Diego. In the morning she will sleep as long as she wants -- although who are we kidding? You have trained her to be awake and ready at the crack of dawn. But it's OK, because this time she can stay in bed, linger, doze, drink coffee. Whatever. She is in no rush.

This glorious schedule will go on for a few days. She will milk it for all it's worth. She will store away in her memory all of the lovely details of what it's like to be alone. To have complete control of her thoughts and body and time. It's been so, so very long.

What she hates about this absolute freedom is that by about the second day she will feel like something's amiss. She will feel a strong tug, an urge to be near you again. She will detect a twinge of guilt. She will miss your sticky hands on her face, your morning breath on her pillow, your giggles and screams in the middle of a phone call. She will miss hearing "excuse me, mama!" in the middle of her sentences.

I know you miss her when she is gone. So she will enjoy these last few hours of freedom and promises to return to you refreshed and recharged, with very shiny hair and soft skin and a clear, blank mind that's ready to discuss whatever matters to you the most at any moment: why rocks are smooth, how Santa makes toys, or how cows make milk. She will come home with new stories about the magical animals that live in your yard. She will sit on the floor and help you line up all of your Matchboxes and build a garage for them out of Legos. She will let you play with her hair as long as you'd like. She will let you help her cook lunch and then she will cuddle you in the big bed and stroke your hair until you fall asleep.

She will be so ready.

Zsofi McMullin lives in Connecticut and blogs at http://www.zsofiwrites.com, where this post first appeared.

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