I recently experienced a Christmas miracle in the form of my first child-free, late-night date since the birth of my daughter, Lennon, eight months ago.
My husband’s annual work Christmas party hosted by the clever and creative owners of Rinck Advertising Agency promised to be a roaring good time when they decided to have a 1920’s themed affair at the historic Horatio G. Foss House, which was built by a footwear manufacturer of the same name in 1914 in Auburn, Maine; and I was immediately lured by the historically significant location as well as the promise of beaded dresses, curled hair, elaborate hair pieces, and art deco jewelry. After all, if I was going to spend an evening away from my child, it might as well be in another era.
As a stay-at-home mother, my daughter and I are rarely parted, and our brief separations are usually met with a some tears from her and anxious enthusiasm from me. As much as I love my child, sometimes it’s nice to have a few “non-mom” moments. The party began at 6:00 p.m., so I felt especially daring as it coincides with my little lady’s bedtime, which is typically when she transforms from docile little cherub to an angry little devil.
As this evening venture was eight months in the making, I embraced the party with some enthusiasm and purchased a beautiful flapper-style, sequined gold dress with translucent arms and hem, despite the fact that the description warned the wearer not to don it around children as apparently sequins aren’t edible. Call me crazy, but I quickly decided that the embellished garment was perfect for my baby free evening as once I put on the inedible ensemble, there was literally no going back without disrobing.
At four o’clock on the Friday afternoon before the party, I found myself preening in the mirror for the first time in months as Lennon eyed my hair curlers and hair dryer with wide-eyed amazement. Over the course of the next hour, I created a smoky effect around my eyes, donned a flaming red lip, transformed my bed head into a curled masterpiece, and painted my nails a shimmery nude color. With a basket of laundry in the adjacent room begging to be folded, it felt a little decadent to spend an entire hour on myself, but it also felt wonderful to bid ado to the slightly frazzled looking mother who usually greeted me in the looking glass.
I dropped my daughter at my mother-in-law’s house, who had bravely volunteered to serve as a child tamer, and made my way to the party. I felt strangely light without the weight of my eighteen-pound infant, loaded diaper bag, and a backpack full of snacks and entertainment.
Knowing my time was limited, I approached the party like an individual embarking on a speed dating venture. I quickly wandered around the house and admired the vintage artwork, grand staircase, and classic Christmas decorations. The home had boasted some some influential visitors over the years, including first lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1953; and the costumed guest and decor made me feel as if I had been transported in time. After my quick tour, I had just enough time to eat an appetizer, drink some spiked holiday party punch, and pose for a photograph before my husband’s phone rang and my father-in-law’s voice could be heard over my daughter’s wailing cries requesting my return.
Although the date ended in a tearful disaster, I felt the attempt was long overdue, and truthfully, I relished my thirty or so “non-mom” minutes. As all mothers know, it’s easy to lose oneself in the act of parenting, and my quick date was a reminder that my personal identity remains beneath the spit up and slobbery kisses. As such, I hope that Santa brings me a tear-free second date sometime this spring, and in case, he reads Mom blogs, I just want to let him know that one of my favorite bands is coming to Portland. No pressure, Santa, but hopefully, I’ll find some tickets beneath the tree this year.