The Misses

I went to Chicago this week to see what there was to see. And do a little business. Or the other way around.

At the last second I made the decision to go alone. This Chicago trip was going to be stuffed like a Thanksgiving bird with meetings and rushings around. This trip to Chicago was no place for a baby. This trip was no place for a mommy. So I left them both at home.

There was duality in my decision to introduce the bottle to the babe. I wanted, I didn't want. I felt fine, I felt guilt. I love nursing because it means I am the only one in the world who is keeping the baby alive. I fear nursing because it means I am the only one in the world who is keeping the baby alive. Nursing keeps me sane, and nursing--as it turns out--makes me crazy.

But the minute I said good bye to her, all tucked into the safety of her pod in the car, I missed her. I missed her when I printed out my boarding ticket. Missed her going through security. Missed her waiting at the gate as we boarded to leave east over the fall-imprinted mountain range.

Missed her in Chicago as we walked on the riverfront parkway.

Missed her at dinner with my new BlogHer friends, an exotic mix of all things Asian (the dinner, not the friends). (The friends were an exotic mix of Irish New Yorker, Gay New Yorker, Chicagoan, LA Transplant and a Relief Society President from Herriman, Utah.)

And I missed her that night as I went to bed, when I felt my milk come in.

In the morning I met up with everyone at breakfast. We were an instant family of a corporate nature. It was like sharing the breakfast table with my siblings, teasing and story telling--a comfortable mix of two. While following a conversation, my eyes caught a baby newborn bouncing around at the next table. My instincts made me believe I could go ask the mother if I could please breastfeed her fussy baby, my lucidity made me stay put.

But just for a second or two? I battled and day dreamed of nursing.

When the day was done--a day of Pollack-like splats of conversation all over the place, I arrived at the airport to come home. My chest was tight with a two-day milk supply. It spared no pain in reminding me about home, about that baby and mom I had left behind. I could feel it pulsating with desire for relief. Ease. Draining.

On the plane ride home a man sat next to me. He was the same age as my dad. He looked like my dad. About thirty two minutes into the flight I started to miss my dad too. I had an extra newspaper and asked if he wanted to read it. He did. As I sat there my instincts told me to look at his hands, just to see if they were the same hands as my dad. I miss my dad's oval fingers and flat nails--hangnails that are promptly removed with his squinty eyes and precise teeth. But when I looked, the man sitting next to me had skinny hands with triangular nails.

Then he fell asleep. I could tell by his breathing and expanded body. Somehow his large chest slumped over and started to push against mine. It hurt. Oh, how it hurt.

But the missing. That hurt worse.

When I was home I checked on The Chief. He was curled up into a ball at the bottom of the bed. I moved him back to his proper place and tucked him in. Then I slowly opened the nursery door and peaked into the crib. I found her on her side--her white silky blanket tucked below her chin. I thought about all the things I could do to relieve my chest of the heaviness but decided to wake her up and give her the honor. It's all for her anyway.

And in the milk-letting, the mom was home again.

I am c jane and I am glad to be home. Like always.
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