In May, I purchased tickets for myself and my husband for a concert in October. I assumed we could take our son, K—who would be 14 months at the time of the concert—since I’ve taken him to every other event we’ve ever attended. When I called the venue to ask a question, however, I was rudely told by the manager that he would “prefer” that I not bring my son with me.
That posed a problem. We live 8 hours from either of our families, and the venue was 3 hours away from where we lived, so I was nervous about leaving K with a babysitter overnight if we were so far away. One day over lunch, I told my friend, B, about our predicament. She quickly offered to watch him overnight so we could go to the concert. I thanked her for her offer, but said we weren’t 100% sure if we were even going to go. Over the next few days, my boss and coworker also said they would be willing to watch K. Again, I said we weren’t sure if we were going, but I would keep their offers in mind.
I mulled over the offers for days. I was having an internal debate. Part of me wanted to go to the concert; it was a band that we didn’t get to see often, and it would be a great opportunity for my husband and I to have some solo time together. But, on the other hand, I didn’t want to be a burden or annoyance to anyone. Even though my friends offered, I was still afraid that K would be difficult and ruin their Friday night.
Thankfully my husband knows me well, so he went ahead and arranged with B to take Kieran for the night. Thursday night, as I packed a bag for K, I cried. I was afraid of leaving my baby for such a long time. I was afraid he thought we were abandoning him, or would be scared sleeping in a strange room. He did fuss a little when I buckled him into his car seat in the back of B’s car on Friday, which almost made me call the entire thing off, but B drove off before I could say anything.
But B knew my worries, so she texted me regularly and let me know what they were doing and how K was. They went out to eat, played at the park, and K made fast friends with B’s dog (especially since he would regularly feed her cookies). He wore himself out by practicing his stair-climbing skills and went down for bed easily. Once I knew he was asleep, I felt like I could breathe easier. Bedtime was my biggest worry, and once that hurdle was over, I knew K would be okay.
My husband and I ended up having a wonderful time. A quiet dinner together where we didn’t have to cut up someone’s meal. Adult conversation that did wander to talk about K, but also included talk about our future and reminiscing about our past. A great concert that ended with us meeting the band. It almost felt like a date night taken from our college days.
We ended up driving home that night, and were able to sleep in. When we woke, we learned that K was still sleeping, so we took advantage of the free time and ran a few kid-free errands. Around 10:00AM, we drove to B’s house to pick up K. When he saw us, he had nothing but huge smiles and hugs.
Since that day, I’ve had to have friends watch K a few more times. Each time, I have to tell myself that the caretaker offered to watch K; they wouldn’t offer if they weren’t ready to take on the task of watching a rambunctious toddler. I still struggle with feeling like I’m being a burden on the person, but I am learning to accept help. I don’t know if my reluctance is from my stubborn need to be self-sufficient, or leftover from my infertility journey (I fought so hard to be a parent, I should be able to do it without help from others). Just like I have found a village of support online, I am learning to lean on my village of support in real life.