the break I didn't know I needed

I didn't think I was exhausted. I didn't feel like I needed time away. I wasn't desperate for a break. Why would I need a break from my dream life?  Because that's what being Tommy's mom is, my dream come true. And because we breastfeed (and maybe also because I'm not good at sharing), from the day he was born, no one else had gotten him up in the morning, no one else had put him down for a nap, and with the exception of a few date nights with a babysitter, no one else had rocked him to sleep. When I write it all down like that, I can sort of admit, that yes, a break was appreciated. So I spent every single day with my little one from the day he was born until the day I tagged along with T.J. on a work conference to Colorado and left him in the care of his Nana and Pawpaw.
My mom shared her insight that the build up to leaving would be much harder than the actual being gone and of course she was right. I worried and worried and pumped extra milk and snuggled him extra close the night before we left. And with just my purse, no diaper bag, and a suitcase packed for just me, we got in an uber early Wednesday morning while Tommy was still asleep. I was so nervous about how he would react with someone other than his mama getting him up in the morning but my parents texted me soon after we arrived at the airport that he was all smiles and already happily playing. I exhaled a bit then and realized I was looking at not just a few hours, but a few days of luxurious, wide open me time.  My middle seat on our 3 hour flight might as well have been on a private jet for how indulgent it felt to actually read a book and order a drink without having a wiggly one year old to wrestle on my lap the whole way.

We arrived in Denver, picked up our rental car and met T.J.'s coworker than drove another 3 hours down the road to Aspen/Snowmass for our baby-free vacation. Well... it was a vacation for me. T.J. still had to do actual adult things while we were there, like attend symposiums and give a presentation on something or other, but I had no such obligations and two free hands for the first time in a year. Our first morning there, T.J. headed out early to his first lecture while I slept in! Well, I slept as late as I could considering my body woke me up desperately needing to pump. After that I took my time getting ready, headed downstairs to grab something from Starbucks and then parked myself at the pool with my book for a few hours.
T.J. met me later in the day and then that evening we went to the rodeo put on specifically for the conference attendants. We had BBQ, I even had a cocktail, and of course I couldn't resist some cotton candy! 
The next day it poured rain for most of the day but I honestly didn't mind one bit because, again, I was footloose and fancy free. I ordered room service for breakfast and basically stayed in bed watching movies until lunch time when there was a break in the weather. T.J. and I hung out by the pool with his co-worker and her husband that afternoon, before doing a bit of exploring around Snowmass. We took the gondola down to the base village, picked up snacks, and then eventually grabbed an easy dinner in the hotel bar.
The only big thing we both really wanted to do was go on a hike together.  So on our last full day in Snowmass, T.J. finished early with his lectures and we drove into Aspen where you can take a shuttle to the amazing, beautiful, Maroon Bells in the White River National Forest. These two mountains are named the Maroon Bells for the reddish hue and their bell shape and pictures just don't do them justice. Personal vehicles are restricted from the park during the day in the summertime but the shuttle from Aspen drops you off right at Maroon Lake. From there we hiked a couple miles on an aspen tree lined trail up to a Crater Lake for an even closer look at these beautiful peaks.  
I now totally get why people are so obsessed with Colorado. I've never been anywhere quite like it. It feels pristine, like you're back in some old frontier. It's simply awe inspiring and I just love how rugged and untouched the landscape has remained.  I loved getting to visit in the summer time as I am sure it's a completely different kind of beautiful in busier winter season. T.J. I both agreed that we will need to take future family ski trips out here. 
We were pretty exhausted and hungry by the time we got back to our hotel so we grabbed a beer and a snack at one of the restaurants before getting cleaned up and then heading out to dinner. Now normally, we if we were at home we'd be calling it a night about then, brushing our teeth and then falling asleep reading most likely. But since this was our last kid-free night we decided to live large and stay up past 9pm. We met up with a couple of T.J.'s friends for beer and bowling and pretended we weren't tired and for a little bit it felt reminiscent of our "younger" selves. 

Meanwhile back at home Tommy carried on with his usual happy routine, sleeping and eating and playing with my parents as well as he does when I'm home. I'm not saying it's the only reason, but I do believe that the consistency in his little world and the fact that I haven't been away from him before now is what has made him such a content little guy. Of course he missed me (he better have missed me!) but knowing he was having fun and being spoiled by his grandparents made it so much easier to be away. And more importantly, not feel guilty about it.

Getting to wake up and not have to be on immediately, staying up late with my boyfriend-bestfriend-husband, drinking as much diet coke as I wanted, reading a book during the daytime, and being able to breathe deep that mountain air, was just the refresh I needed before returning home to my sweet boy and our second year of motherhood.


  1. You got some great photos!! Colorado is beautiful. I'm so glad you got a little vacation and that Tommy did so well with his grandparents! Of course he did!!

    1. Thank you! I am definitely so grateful and so lucky that Tommy has such awesome grandparents. I didn't have to worry one bit about him in their care. And since we live so far away it's definitely special for them to get to have one-on-one time.

  2. The pictures of Colorado are beautiful. Glad you got a little time away....and to have great grandparents taking care of Tommy!

  3. You visited my home state of Colorado! So glad they treated you well. Loved all the pictures and I'm so glad you had a wonderful time. Your mom's post about their babysitting gig was good, too.

  4. He told me he missed you : ) But we loved every minute and are so glad you had a little r & r. A break makes us better people.


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