Stay Right Here #32
“Come on, Soph. Time to go!” I hurriedly put the milk from her cereal back in the fridge as she hopped off her seat at the kitchen island. I passed Sophie’s lunchbox to her as I picked up Auden, who was already strapped into her car seat.
In the two weeks since the funeral, I had become almost a pro at getting out the door in time for Sophie to get to school on time. I was able to time Auden’s feedings so that she would fall asleep in the car instead of screaming. I felt like I had this mommy thing figured out—almost.
“Have a good day at school, Sophie.” I smiled as she unbuckled her seat to get out. She first leaned over and gave Auden a kiss before hopping out.
“Bye Mommy! Bye Auden!” She waved as she slammed the back door shut.
“How about a little grocery shopping, Miss Auden?” I said, basically to myself, as I pulled out of the school drop-off lane and towards the store. I had been putting it off for weeks. I had been hoping that Justin would come home and I would be able to go to the store sans the baby, but that hadn’t happened and we were out of almost everything now.
Auden slept all the way to the store, and continued to sleep even through my struggles to put her into my baby carrier. Throughout my pregnancy I had continued to tell Justin how I would never wear my baby, but when I was left in a situation where I didn’t have someone to leave the baby with and I knew she would probably scream if she wasn’t close to me, I had no other options.
Diapers, wipes, milk, eggs, cereal and freezer meals were on my list as I quickly made my way through the store. I picked out lots of frozen things to keep Sophie from starving, since she was always up for a frozen pizza or a microwave dinner. I knew it wasn’t the best, but I also knew that I didn’t necessarily have the time or energy to spend cooking in the kitchen to make her a well-balanced meal. If Justin was going to be gone for a long time, we would make do with freezer meals.
By the time I was at the checkout, I could hear chaos outside. As I pushed my cart out to the car, I was swarmed by paparazzi wanting a picture of Auden.
“Show us the baby!”
“Let us see baby Auden!”
“We want the baby!”
Auden’s head was safely snuggled in the carrier, which kept her out of the paparazzi’s view. I opened the trunk and quickly unloaded my groceries as the yelling woke her up. I knew I had no choice but to put her in the car with the paparazzi around. They were going to get pictures of her and there wasn’t any way I was going to be able to prevent that. I hadn’t wanted the pictures of Auden to sell. I thought it was wrong that someone was going to make hundreds of thousands of dollars off of the pictures of my newborn daughter, but right at that moment there wasn’t anything I could do to stop them. With Auden screaming, I pulled her out of the baby carrier and tried to soothe her for a second before I popped her into her car seat. I stuck the pacifier in her mouth to keep her calm for a little while.
“Carson! Where is Justin?!” A paparazzi standing right in front of my door asked.
“Please let us have a little space.” I said as I bit my tongue to keep myself from completely losing it. He moved to let me into the car. As I opened the door and got in, I was met with the sound of Auden’s screams which continued the entire forty-five minute drive home.
“Okay, little baby, I bet you are wet and hungry and that would make me upset too.” I sighed as I got her out of the car seat. She calmed down once she was in my arms long enough for me to get the groceries inside. I put the frozen and refrigerated stuff away, but left everything else out on the counter since it could wait until Auden was asleep.
To deal with the stress of everything, I had been writing. In the dusty motel room I had rented, I wrote better than I had in years. I wrote songs about my mom, songs about Selena, and even some about Carson and the girls. I had melody after melody pouring out of me, eager to be written down.
I couldn’t even sleep. I had no idea how long I had been in Canada, but it felt like it had only been a few days since I wasn’t sleeping at all. I stayed up until dawn writing in a notebook I had bought at a convenient store down the road.
I had just finished with my nearly thirteen-hour work session as I laid down on the bed. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to sleep, but my eyes were dry and itchy from being used for so long.
When sleep didn’t come, I grabbed my iPad off of the nightstand. The day I had talked to Carson I had tossed my phone into the motel’s swimming pool, so now I only had my iPad to connect me to the outside world.
I got onto twitter to see what was going on and felt my heart being stabbed in a million pieces as a picture of Carson and Auden popped up on my newsfeed. Carson looked rugged in her athletic shorts and oversized t-shirt. Her hair was up in a bun on top of her head, as it usually was in the morning or on days we didn’t leave the house. My heart broke even further when I saw Auden. She looked so big. I felt like I had missed most of her life as I sunk even further into the downward spiral I had started on.
I wanted to go home, I really did, but at this point I didn’t know how. How would I go home and face Carson? She would be understandably mad. How would I explain my absence to Sophie? How would Mandy react to my homecoming? I wanted to go home, but I was scared at what might be waiting for me when I got there.
"Mommy, I can’t sleep." Sophie’s little voice woke me up almost as soon as I had fallen to sleep after Auden’s midnight feeding.
"What’s wrong?" I asked through a yawn.
"I miss my daddy." She said in such a voice my heart almost broke in half right there. I patted the bed next to me and she crawled up, snuggling next to me. I could hear her faint cries as she broke down and started to cry.
"I miss him, too, sweetheart." I sighed.
"When is he coming back?"
"I don’t know." I admitted honestly. I was completely at a loss of how to comfort her. I was over trying to make it appear like Justin hadn’t just run away from his life—that was exactly what he had done. I wasn’t nearly as understanding as I had been over two weeks ago when I talked to him. I was getting more and more upset with each passing day that I had to do everything by myself.
Sophie fell to sleep in my bed and slept through Auden when she started to cry an hour later. I leaned over, half asleep, and got her eating without a problem.
I had almost fallen back to sleep when I woke up with a start. I felt something dripping down my arm and by the time I realized it, my shirt was soaked and stinky.
"Auden," I sighed as I lifted her off of me and saw the poop running down her leg. "Did you really just poop on me? I thought we had an agreement that we would save these shitty moments for when Daddy gets back."
Careful to not wake Sophie, I carried Auden into her nursery, trying my best to not let her diaper drip on the carpet.
"I don’t even know where to start." I sighed as I turned on the light and assessed the damage. My tank was completely saturated with poop. Auden’s onesie was soaked at the legs and all the way down her back. Instead of crying though, she just looked at me, as if she was wondering how I was going to fix this shitty situation.
I stripped Auden out of her onesie and then out of her diaper. Using about a million baby wipes, I got every trace of poop off of her. I quickly put another diaper on her and then found a clean onesie in her dresser.
"Now Mommy is going to take a shower." I whispered as I laid her down in the bassinet. It wasn’t until I heard the squishy sound I realized what I had done. I gently lifted up her legs to reveal a poop-infiltrated bassinet.
"Really Auden?" I sighed, trying my best not to cry as I carried her back to her room to change her yet again. I used another whole box of wipes to get this round of poop off of her before I carried her into my bathroom and put her in the bouncer. I stripped out of the tank and threw it into my growing pile of poopy laundry. I took a short shower, just long enough to make sure that I was clean and poop-free.
Since Auden had just ruined my only clean nursing tank, I just threw on a nursing bra with a pair of athletic shorts. I was in no shape to be not wearing a shirt, but at this point I didn’t really care.
Auden was still awake when I came back to her bouncer after putting on clothes. She squirmed and kicked her legs, which made me think she was on the verge of screaming. I picked her up and gathered the poopy laundry with my other hand. I undid the zipper on the bassinet’s lining and took it off so I could wash it. We stopped in and got the two poopy onesies and threw them in the hamper before I carried it down to the washing machine.
"Alright," I sighed as I carried her back upstairs. "We have officially dealt with our first shitty night and we survived. Now it’s time for sleep." I laid down on the bed with Auden on my chest. She hadn’t ever slept in my bed, but with no bassinet I had no other option. I had gotten to a point where I almost enjoyed my time with her— especially if she was asleep. As I fell asleep with both girls in bed with me, I couldn’t help but wonder if this situation had become a permanent thing.