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About

Ashlee is Mama of one darling boy. A 28 week early bird, now 1 and some change, doing beautifully. She lives near Chicago with her sweetheart husband and French Bulldog. She's a thinker not afraid to get her silly on. Babywearer, veggie queen, photography nut. Before the domestic days Ashlee was pursuing a future in developmental psychology but has happily shifted gears in favor of staying at home and couldn't imagine doing anything else. In her free time (ha!) you can find her whipping up babyslings, holding down the fort at Mama Speaks and spotlighting as an Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor.

Baby-Free

For nearly 13 months Xavier has been by my side (on my side is probably a more accurate description). And with the exception of the necessities in the NICU I have not left him. At all. With anybody. Not even his Papa (who is, I might mention, a wonderful Papa).

Partially out of philosophy
(I just don't think someone else should watch my child), part necessity (nursing) and a whole lot of desire (why would I want to be without him for a second!) ... And I have loved, without reservation, every second.

I spent a lot of my life moving through awkwardness. I was shy, self-conscious, never quite fit in - which was ok because fitting in wasn't necessarily my style - but I felt strange in my skin none the less. Since becoming a mom, however, I've found my purpose.
This is my calling. This is what I'm here for. And all at once I have transitioned into this woman who is comfortable in her skin. Confident. Focused. At ease.

And so, since becoming a mother - Xavier's mother - I have found no desire to 'take a break' or have 'me' time. This is all I want to do. I have embraced it. We 've centered things around our new family, child-focused and molded the rest of life around.
But...

I'm going to start teaching yoga classes within the next month and while I'll only be away for an hour or two once a week, I started to think it probably wasn't a good idea to wait until my first class to leave Xavier for the first time...I decided to see if Stephanie would like to go out for her birthday. Just the two of us. Babies at home with our darling husbands. Just her and I for soup and sandwiches and lots of chatting at Panera. Close to home but still away. Did I mention no babies?

So around 5:45 this evening I made the rounds with kisses, said 'See you later', and walked down the stairs to the car for the first time in a year -
by myself. I felt naked. I felt nervous. I cried pulling out the driveway. But then something wonderful happened. I felt great. Relaxed, peaceful, proud. David and Xavier were going to be fine and I was off to have a great time with my best friend. And we did.

I picked up Steph, we headed to Panera, ordered our meals, placed our cell phones on the table and got lost in good food and great conversation for an hour or so. We trekked over to Target to pick up a few things (did you know they make sleds for babies? Yes, we're praying for snow) and then we headed back home. To our husbands and babes and boys. A simple night, but wonderful.

I came home to a house still standing. A house happy. Toys all over the place. David and Xavier being silly upstairs, still sparkling from the bath. I shouted I was home, climbed the stairs. As I peeked around the corner Xavier got all kinds of excited - began to crawl towards me and smile. The kind of smile that says "I'm really glad to see you, but it was kind of nice not to see you for a while." And after some thought I've decided that is a wonderful thing.

Sure I missed some things. X learned how to say pig and oink while I was gone. But I gained a lot. I feel refreshed, have a spring in my step I didn't know I was missing. Bonded with my buddy in a way we haven't yet, we're like sisters - separated at birth, but since we've met we've always spent time together focused on our little one's. And probably, best of all, my boys spent time together. Just the two of them. Being boys. No girls allowed.

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  • Blogger Adventures In Babywearing says so:
    10:50 PM  

    What a great post. I feel so honored to be a part of this milestone!! It was a wonderful time... thank you!~ top

  • Blogger Robin says so:
    11:29 PM  

    You made me cry. That was beautiful. And I'm SOO proud of you. I know how hard that was for you tonight. Those "welcome home" smiles are the very best!!! top

  • Blogger The Flip Flop Mamma! says so:
    7:36 AM  

    That's so great for you!! And you are such an amazing writer...have you thought about doing something with it?? You really write amazing posts. I have left the Beast with babysitters (my mom, and our pastor & his wife, and I think only like 3 times) and when I'm not with her, I always at least once, get scared for a sec and my heart stops because I think I've left her somewhere. I'm so silly...then I remember she's with someone else. It is scary though. top

  • Blogger Tracey says so:
    7:43 AM  

    Ah, the best parts would definitely be the Daddy and Son time. Congratulations in making a big step! top

  • Blogger Stephanie says so:
    10:08 AM  

    I loved this post. Good for you for letting go a little (not that holding on is bad!) and treating all of you to an excellent evening. X's dad probably feels just as good as you today! top

  • Blogger Heidi says so:
    11:52 AM  

    You are a very gifted writer. This post brought back the exact feelings I had when I left for the first time. It took me awhile to not feel naked without him in the car. Thanks for sharing. top

  • Blogger Reese says so:
    12:14 PM  

    This is great, I just posted on this a couple days ago. Good for you! top

  • Blogger Glass Half Full says so:
    12:45 PM  

    Sounds like you had a fun time. I remember those feelings when I left Matthew for the first time. Wait until you drop them off at preschool or Kindergarten -- HOLY COW!!! top

  • Anonymous O Mama Mia says so:
    1:19 PM  

    Oh girl, you make my heart sing. You rock! top

  • Blogger New Mama's Nest says so:
    8:59 PM  

    This comment has been removed by the author. top

  • Blogger New Mama's Nest says so:
    9:01 PM  

    Aww! Thanks for the compliments on my writing! To answer your question...

    I've always been convinced my writing is just sort of OK. In school I had dreams of being a writer - but traded that in for what I thought would be a promising career in photography, which I traded in for a degree in Psychology, which I traded for the role of wife, mama, yoga instructor, sling maker that you all know and love (he!). I do LOVE to write and have thought about trying to publish something... my thoughts on preemies or parenting or the like... and hubby has really been encouraging me to do so. I would like to if and when time and circumstance allow... So yeah...maybe! :) top

  • Blogger Cyclone says so:
    9:56 PM  

    What a great, great post. Seriously. And I bet David loved having X all to himself for awhile, as much as you hated to leave him. :) top

  • Blogger Christie says so:
    10:18 AM  

    you do write wonderfully! i pass through here every once in a while and you always seem to write something i completely identify with, like your NICU experiences and this. on my first solo trip to the grocery store, (lame, i know) i felt so naked and odd. i realized when i got home that i had never even turned on the radio in the car. i relished in the silence and the little trip was actually refreshing. that's great that this was good for you! top

  • Blogger Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) says so:
    6:31 PM  

    so glad for you!!! that was such a beautiful post. you are such a great mom. how wonderful that you and steph are such great friends! did u meet through blogging!??!? top

  • Blogger scribbit says so:
    12:21 AM  

    I think it's wonderful how much you enjoy what you do and how seriously you take your Mom Career. top