I’m in San Diego at a conference this week. There are 9,000 ENT doctors from all over the world running around in their glasses and suits, carrying briefcases and checking their phones. It’s exotic, their world, and I’m a fly on the wall – representing a nonprofit and hosting a booth where I talk to strangers all day.
I miss Hugh, of course. And I hope he misses me. Tasha says he’s been cheerful, sleeping through the night and laughing out loud, all you could want from a baby. It makes me wonder if he really knows who I am; if I’m just another warm face who hands him a bottle.
It’s okay with me that he’s independent, that in his 9 month-old brain, he is content to be fed and cared for by familiar hands, even if it is not this set of hands. I think of how Tasha feeds him in the middle of the night, me in the morning, his teachers during the day and Amy in the early evening. He is a man of the world, open and social, and I am already an observer.
But it’s much the same way for me as it is for Hugh. I am enjoying sleeping through the night in a giant bed with soft sheets and fluffy pillows. I run in the morning, drink coffee slowly, find a glass of wine in the evening and turn my face to the sun. Someone brings me my dinner and takes away my plate.
But I still miss him.
I think of how he presses his mouth into my shoulder and clutches my hair with his hand, babbles into my shoulder in a way that is all mine.
Maybe that’s the lesson I learn over and over – that you can be a needle in a haystack and singular at the same time; that I can enjoy my time without Hugh and yet keep him as the center of my universe.