But apparently I am.
Because the camp-out last night about brought me to my knees, people. I'm sittin' here at my kitchen counter this morning, listening to Peabody systematically rip apart everything on the main level of the house (only because that's the only level he can get to right now) (lately Peabody's name is MUD -- Mobile Unit of Destruction). Anyway I hear him over there in the pantry feverishly crinkling and shredding up all the paper napkins like a Mama gerbil about to whelp, or whatever gerbils do to produce those eraser-babies of theirs, and THAT IS ALL THAT I HEAR. I do not hear Marfa Speaks. I do not hear a little chipmunky voice sayin' Mamaaaaaa? Can I have my hot cocoa? Can I have my vitamins? Mamaaaaaaaa! Peabody's playin' in the potty! Mamaaaaa, look at this! Look what I made!
For the first morning ever, except for the three times I've left her with Nana because I've HAD TO, I didn't wake up to my sleepy girl climbing into my bed and throwing a little tiny leg and a little tiny arm over me and yawning in my face before happily plugging her two middle fingers into her mouth and scootchin' up real tight for our morning snuggle. AND IT'S PRETTY DARNED EMPTY WITHOUT ALL THAT, PEOPLE.
Al and I went to the party last night, too. All the Moms and Dads attended, ate yummy camp-out food, drank a little, chatted and laughed and watched Baby Kevin (Whoops, there I go again!) open his presents. And then Mr. Adem set up a big old screen right out there in the back yard, in front of the faery-light encrusted play set, and the kids all settled down and lay on the grass under the stars to watch a movie. I could just make out the top of Bean's little head as it stuck out from under a cozy fleece throw.
It's funny how a mother knows her own daughter so well she can tell how she's feeling and what she's thinking just by looking at the top of her head. Didn't even need to see her face. I just knew by the way that fuzzy little noggin looked resting on that pillow.
My Bean was in Kid Heaven.
So I went and gathered up her new red sleeping bag, and I carefully unrolled it inside The Girls Tent, and I unrolled it some more, and I smoothed it out, and I unzipped it and folded a corner back, and then I zipped it back up and smoothed it out again, and pulled at the end to make sure it lined up perfectly parallel to the side of the tent, and then I unzipped a little bit of it again and folded the corner back down. Up, down, folded, unfolded?! (Hyperventilate.)
And then I had this prolonged debate in my head over the extra blanket I'd brought. HER blanket. Should I lay it out flat inside the sleeping bag or fold it at the bottom on the outside? Would she get cold and not know to just pull it up over herself, or if I went ahead and put it INSIDE the bag would she get hot and tangled up and be miserable and not be able to free herself, awkward and alone, there in the dark, without me? (Hyperventilate.)
And then finally I just sat there, inside that stupid tent, with that stupid sleeping bag and that dumb blanket, and I had myself a good old-fashioned internal truth-facing melt-down. MY BABY'S GOING TO SLEEP IN THIS TENT TONIGHT. AND SHE'S GOING TO BE FINE AND HAPPY AND DELIGHTED AND NOT MISS ME AT ALL. AND THAT'S WONDERFUL.
And it's also the WORST THING THAT'S EVER HAPPENED TO ME IN MY LIFE.
And then I sat back on my heels, took a deep, shuddering breath, and resolutely put the blanket inside the sleeping bag, zipped it up, and forced myself to climb back out of that tent. I said goodnight to my little girl, who payed absolutely NO attention to my brimming tears and didn't even hear the weirdness in my voice caused by the armadillo-sized lump in my throat, and I kissed her cheek, and I kissed Teddy's ear, okay both ears, okay both ears twice and I walked away.
When we got home, Al and I quietly went about our normal nightly pre-bed routine. But I left the little lamp in her room on all night long. Nothing could have made me turn that lamp off. It stayed on, a warm, soft glow, ready and waiting for my daughter -- my heart -- all night long.
And I turned the ringer on the phone up RILLYRILLY LOUD. And put it on the bedside table RIGHT NEXT TO MY EAR.
And I lay there most of the night willing that phone to RING, DAMMIT.
And NOT TO RING.
Well, the sun crept ever-closer to the horizon, and just as I knew deep in my heart that it wouldn't, the phone never rang. And I got out of my bed as soon as it was light and looked out the window, across the street and down two houses, to where my first-born baby lay asleep in a sleeping bag, in a tent, on the ground, without me.
Gradually, daylight spread like melted butter over and around both of us, her happily waking up beside her friends down the block and me puttering around my kitchen with Peabody at my feet, and among all the conflicting maternal angst and pride and that sense of everything slipping by way too quickly, I knew one thing.
We'd both made it.