Why dont I take Skylar home with me for a few days?
I smile blissfully, reliving the fantasy again, the one where my
mother-in-law offers to take our son off our hands for a short while.
Rebecca and I bundle him up and hug him goodbye, then spend some luxurious
mornings sleeping in after a couple of hot dates together. I also
see myself rough-housing with the dogs, not having to worry whether
Bahroos barking will wake Skylar. Days and nights filled with
freedom, the freedom to do anything at all.
Nick? I feel a hand shake my shoulder. So what do you
The fantasy vanishes, like it always does, leaving a wistful smile on my
lips. Then I realize that this isnt a fantasy. My
mother-in-law is looking right at me and shes serious. I feel my
neck muscles tighten.
I clamped my lips tightly around the words before they
can escape my mouth. What am I doing? This isnt how the
fantasy goes. Im supposed to be dancing a gig of celebration.
Somehow, though, I dont feel like dancing. Ive already begun
to imagine tomorrow morning. The house is quiet. Dead quiet.
I see myself wandering through the halls, searching for my little boy.
Wait a second. What am I, crazy? Were talking about a free
weekend here. This was supposed to be easy. I mean, I hate
waking up in the morning when he cries. I lie in bed and try to see
if hes really crying or if hes just talking. Sometimes Ill
even nudge Rebecca with my foot to wake her up, then Ill pretend like
Im still asleep so shell get up to take care of him. Ive
dreamed of sleeping in for nine months now, but suddenly the thought of
not hearing him in the morning makes me sad. Why is this so hard for
I feel like I must be bordering on insanity to be thinking like this.
I run my hands through my hair. Okay, I say, and then my
stomach makes a full flip at my betrayal of my son.
I help pack Skylars things in a daze. His little snuggy jacket fits
around my hand like a puppet. Why did I want him gone so badly? I
cant remember. Do I really want this? I try to pack some
clothes for him, but today was going to be laundry day. Just put
all of his dirty clothes in a basket. Ill wash and fold them.
My mother-in-law, I can see, has been fantasizing about this day also,
though I think her fantasy is going a bit more to schedule than mine and
she certainly isnt going to let something like a pile of dirty clothes
shut this down. Suddenly I feel so embarrassed: Skylar isnt even a year
old and already hes bringing his dirty laundry with him when he visits
Its amazing just how much stuff a little one needs, and dont think
my mother-in-law isnt prepared. She has her own crib, playpen,
highchair, and toys. But a baby needs diapers (two packs of 28 each,
just to be sure), formula (a monster-sized can, just to be sure), extra
bottles (just to be sure), a second jacket (just to be sure), some toys
for the drive (just to be sure), snacks and munchies and
My mind screams that I can still say no. But once hes in that car
and on his way, its all over. My mother-in-law lives over a
hundred miles away. Its not like I can change my mind two hours
from now when the withdrawl pains begin to completely overwhelm me.
I whisper, If you dont leave now, hes going to be staying.
My mother-in-law hears me, and a look of panic crosses her face. She
knows Ive betrayed myself. Suddenly Skylar has everything he
needs. I can always stop by the store, she says as she takes
Skylar from my arms. In a flash, hes buckled into his car seat
and all I can see are taillights.
Numb, I walk back into the house with my arm wrapped around Rebecca.
The house is quiet. Dead quiet. Rebecca and I look at each
other, paralyzed. I know Ive forgotten what we used to do on a
Saturday morning. I suppose we could go to a movie or out to eat.
We could go back to bed and sleep in. We could even light a fire and
not have to worry about someone trying to crawl into it. These are
all things I fantasized about doing, but none of them seem appealing right
Lets go out and play, says Rebecca, breaking the silence. I
think about all the things we need to bring: diapers, wipes,
nothing. We need nothing other than each other.
I take her hand and we run out of the house.