I started feeling anxious on Friday. The day started well, with beautiful sunshine, but headed downhill at an alarming rate after Mr A completely refused to have a lunchtime nap. I got both babies up, and we played for a while before all hell broke loose and they both screamed at me hysterically while I desperately tried to get everything ready for a walk to the park. They got themselves so distressed that by the time I'd got them into the pushchair and out the door I was shaking and tearful. It took me straight back to the dark dark early days when I would have to feed one baby while the other screamed.
The anxiety didn't let off, because I knew that I was leaving on Saturday after breakfast, to join some very good friends on a hen do in Sherwood Forest Centre Parcs (complete with night on the town in Nottingham), and wouldn't be back until Sunday afternoon. It would be the first time I'd ever left the babies for so long, and the first time I would leave them overnight. Young Daddy was waiting to take over the reins. He had been feeling excited about the challenge but was getting more nervous as the date crept closer and closer.
Saturday morning arrived and I wasn't only feeling anxious, I was feeling really emotional. This really took me by surprise. I've been dreaming of a night off for so long, and yet there I was, desperate to stay at home. By the time I got myself in the car, tears were streaming down my face and I could hardly breathe. I popped on the Glee soundtrack for a good singalong and tried not to let myself get too stressed about the traffic and roadworks. My journey took five hours, instead of the expected three.
Of course I had an absolutely fantastic time when I was there. I loved hanging out with my friends, getting myself dolled up, and having a night out. And I was there, on that dancefloor, right until our taxi arrived at 2am to take us back to Centre Parcs!
As I suspected it might, the homing instinct (and luckily not a hangover) kicked in strongly when I woke up on Sunday morning. I just wanted to get home. While most of my friends were still sleeping it off, I set off on my return journey. I missed those babies so much my chest ached. And that ache just got stronger and stronger, the closer I got to home. The roads seemed to conspire against me and time went into go-slow mode.When I finally turned into my street I couldn't park the car fast enough, jumped out and ran into the house.
The emotions I felt leaving them for such a short time have come as a shock. I've been imagining that leaving the babies at nursery when I start back at work won't be a problem. But I think I've underestimated my intense bond with them. That doesn't mean I'm thinking twice about going back - I can't wait to head back to the office - but I now know that I will need to prepare myself for how hard it's going to be to wave goodbye to my babies on my first day back.