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Abby is an easy kid.  I say that to preface the following, because I know lots of parents that have challenging, needy, or just-plain-crazy kids.  Abby isn’t one of those.

But there is still something truly difficult about solo parenting.

I’m not used to taking care of Abby all by myself.  I mean, we spent all summer together, but I always knew that Erin would be home by five so it never actually felt like the two of us were on our own.

But, it had to happen eventually that Erin would be called away for something.  In this case it was a speaking engagement in Pittsburgh, necessitating a three day trip so that she could show off how smart she is and how many letters she has behind her name (twelve, at last count).

Two nights.  Three days.  No biggie.

And it wasn’t, really, since there were no major breakdowns, health emergencies, terrorists, fires, alien attacks, poopsplosions, or newly discovered food allergies.  Abby was – as always – happy and content and accommodating.  If I needed a half hour to do dishes and clean up the kitchen, she quite happily sat and played by herself.  She slept without incident, only waking up early by half an hour once (but she made up for it by sleeping for half an hour in my bed afterward, which she hasn’t done since she was a new baby).  We were able to go grocery shopping and birthday shopping and she was great in every store.

I only started to feel really sad when Abby went to bed.  The house was quiet except for the buzz of the monitor.  I knew that I could ask Erin to pick up dinner or milk or a Disney DVD on the way home, that there would be someone there to help give her a bath at night, that I would have someone to talk to about the silliness of the day or the zoo trip we were planning for tomorrow.  It never felt like I was alone.

Those two nights were the first time in a very, very long time that I felt lonely.  Talking to friends wouldn’t help.  Facebook chat wouldn’t cure it.  I wanted Erin there, and I hated the way the night felt when she wasn’t beside me, even if we were just watching TV or reading separately.  The house felt too empty.  The night felt too dark.