This past weekend I scooted up to Boston for a bridal shower, a little new baby kissing and a long overdue visit with three of my favorite gals from college, all of whom have settled in Boston and who I hold close to my heart. Even with time and distance between us, our friendships remain strong enough that we still have no problem sharing deodorant or volunteering to check each other's teeth before a photo-op (yes, there's a little piece of broccoli in your teeth. And yes, you got it).
This trip was also a personal milestone, as it was my first time away from my husband and kids in almost three years. When I realized it had been that long since I had been away from my family, I felt like one of those moms who carries a forehead thermometer in her purse and cancels dinner plans when her kid gets cradle cap.
That said, the night before I left I was more than happy to have the kids all to myself, as my husband was out to dinner with clients. Feeling a little sentimental, I tucked a pajama'ed baby under each of my arms and made a mommy sandwich in bed, alternating kisses and squeezes between my kids while they watched some show about a naked pig who learns to share. I couldn't help closing my eyes and taking in the moment, rubbing the backs of their little hands and closing my eyes as I laid my cheek on their warm heads (which oddly smelled terrible, but not terrible enough that I couldn't deal with it for another twelve hours until it became my husband's problem. Smell ya later, suckers.)
After the baby fell asleep, I tucked her in her crib and nestled back into bed next to the duckling. My last few thoughts as I drifted to sleep were of my husband and how surprised and delighted he would be to discover that I, "Mean Mommy", finally let our toddler sleep in our bed for once. I imagined him tenderly kissing us both on the forehead before climbing in bed to warm his toes against our legs as we all dreamt of picnics and kittens.
I half-awoke as my husband quietly opened the front door. Eyes closed, I listened as he removed his shoes, hung up his bag and made his way up the stairs. He gingerly tip-toe'd across the room, and I thought I heard him smile as he made out two uneven lumps of bodies in the bed. He crouched next to me, placed his cool, scruffy cheek to mine, and quietly whispered, "it smells like a fart in here."
The next morning as I drove away I immediately missed my family, but not enough to turn around and call off the whole thing. After all, sometimes a little time away only strengthens how much you love your home and your family, even if they all smell like a fart.