She smelled sweet.
And little girl.
Her arms circled my neck, her lips left a ball of spit on my cheek from where she kissed me. I didn't care though.
I had been away from my kids for four days. My Mom had taken them back with her to Texas so I could finish unpacking. Even though I missed the kids, I did enjoy my time away from them.
I was able to do the following while they were away:
--Unpack. Naturally. That was the main point of having them go.
--Read. When I was finished unpacking for the day it was wonderful to curl up on the couch and get lost in a book. It has been ages since I have finished one in two days.
--Watch Sex and the City during the day. Or anything else I wanted. I didn't have to worry if it was inappropriate for children or not. I can't even watch The Real Housewives anymore because Natalie has been taking everything in and she's like, "Why do those girls yell at each other all the time?" or, "What's wrong with that girl's face?" (She says this mainly towards the California housewives...you know, the ones who Botox their face up to the point where you can't tell if they are happy or sad..)
--Walk around in my underwear. Well. I didn't really do this. But it felt great to know that I COULD if I wanted.
--Take PIPS. (Poops in peace) I didn't have someone banging on the door or worse, walking in and making a request as if they didn't notice me sitting on the commode.
--Having a snack and not having to share. I don't like to share all the time. Sometimes I want the Klondike bar for myself.
I definately was relaxed. I could even relax on the airplane from Oklahoma to Texas. I didn't have to tend to anyone. I could open my book and read, not having to worry that my kids were entertained and not peeking over the seat in front of us. ("I think I see The Office, Mommy," Natalie had once said as she glanced in front of us and my heart had raced for a second. John Krasinski. Flying Southwest! Like the rest of us regular people. I knew there was a reason why I liked him. I knew--oh. The guy Natalie was talking about turned around, scowling at us, and I realized he looked a bit like Micheal Scott. But he wasn't.)
"I missed you," Natalie breathed, refusing to let me go. Her feet were clamped behind me, her arms looped around my neck.
"Hi, Tommy," I said to my son, who stared at me with bright eyes. At the age of nine, he no longer attaches himself to me and likes to act as though he'd be fine on his own.
"Hi," Tommy answered.
Of course I thanked my mother. She had admitted that it was hard work, that it had taken a lot out of her to watch the kids. After all they have tons of energy, the kind that I wish I could bottle up and sell. I'd be a millionare. And then comes the neverending questions. Why is the sun yellow? Why doesn't it rain a lot in Texas? Why did Darth Vadar turn to the Dark Side? What's wrong with Snooki's hair? Can we have chocolate for dinner? Why not? YOU'VE had chocolate for dinner before.
We walked out to Mom's car, Natalie still gripping onto me. My arms were starting to ache. She may be light, but she begins to feel heavy after a few minutes. Maybe it just means I'm weak.
"I've been swimming and I go under water. I'm not scared," Natalie told me solemnly as we walked.
She's much different than I was as a child. I hated going under the water.
"What was the airport like at Oklahoma?" Tommy wanted to know. He's obsessed with the designs of airports. It's one of his Asperger quirks. Another is power lines. He wants to know the design of power lines in each state. If he ever meets you, one of the first things he might ask is, "What do your power lines look like?" He has notebooks filled with drawings of different power lines. I'll watch him draw a row, his tongue poking out the side of his mouth in concentration.
"The airport was much smaller than Denver," I answered, naming the airport we used to fly out of when we lived in Wyoming.
Tommy puffed his lower lip out. "Oh." He liked the design of Denver, loved the trains we had to go on to get to the different concourses. He'd even repeat the voice of the train, the ones that said, "Hold on, please," even the sassy one, the one that said, "Step away from the doors. YOU are the one holding up the train."
"It's still nice though. You'll see it when we fly back," I assured him.
"When we drive home, will we see the power lines?" Tommy asked hopefully.
"I'm sure we will."
Natalie still clung to me as we walked outside the airport. The heat hit me in the face. I was in sweatpants because airplanes make me cold. I could never wear shorts or else I'd freeze.
Natalie eventually let go of me when I buckled her into her carseat. That was another thing I could do when the kids were gone: I could leave a car without having to worry about anyone else. Now I was back in Mommy mode, latching Natalie's buckles, making sure they were tight around her. She's old enough to move into an easier seat, a booster seat, but I want to keep her in a six point harness as long as I can.
We stopped for lunch before we headed to Mom's house and when our food arrived, for a brief second I almost started to eat as I was able to when the kids were away. But then I remembered that it was no longer Just Me. I leaned over and cut Natalie's noodles, placed a puddle of ketchup on each of their plates for the french fries, requested more lemonade for Tommy...
Really, it was nice to have Me Time.
But it feels good to be needed.
It feels good to be loved, to have someone want to attach themselves to you and never let go.