New(ish) mum Samantha Dooey-Miles is charting her life in doodles. This week, she charts a six-day Iona-free stint.

Did you miss me? What do you mean you didn’t notice I was gone? Fine. I have spent most of the last week separated from my daughter for the very first time by the big Atlantic Ocean while I worked in New York. (I like talking about working in foreign lands; for all you know I could be an international toilet cleaner specialising in the most disgusting nightclub loos, but talking about going away makes it all sound rather exciting, doesn’t it?)

Anyway, I’m back. Hurrah. For your perusal, find below excerpts from my diary detailing how it was to be away from the best person to have ever slipped out of my vagina.

Day 1

Have spent the days before I leave in a constant state of low-level panic. A few nights ago I dreamt I watched a plane fly into a mountain. This has led to being genuinely concerned I have a psychic gift which has chosen now to reveal itself.

I’ve forced my husband to promise that after my tragic, untimely death he will honour my wishes for my daughter to see my family in Scotland once a month. Despite my premonition, I’ve woken with the feeling that now would be a very inconvenient time to die. I still haven’t finished the first draft of my novel.

Saying my goodbyes I burst into spontaneous tears. My mum sometimes does this when I say goodbye to her before returning to London. I have spent eight years mocking her mercilessly for it. I vow, should I survive the flight, I will stop making fun of her for it.

FYI: I did not die.

Day 2

During lunch I realise, with the time difference, this is the perfect time to FaceTime my daughter. Once she can be persuaded to take a break from Paw Patrol to look at my husband’s phone, she sees it is me and bursts into uncontrollable tears. I assume she has inherited the same spontaneous crying gene I got from my mum.

“I’m asked, ‘Have you missed Iona?’ My answer is both yes and not really. Do you know who I have spent months missing? Me.”

My level of mother guilt has never been higher. This is easily cured by eating an American cheese sandwich, which is the most delicious thing I’ve eaten in a long time. American cheese sounds like a delicacy. It is in fact the squares of bright orange cheese which come wrapped in plastic. There is a mountain of it in the roll. Despite its probable long-term carcinogenic properties, I cannot reiterate enough how delicious it is.

Day 3

Out with some colleagues for dinner in the West Village. I eat Japanese food and drink IPA and enjoy it an extra notch for not having to worry about being woken at 5am. Ensuring I do not get too carried away with my freedom, I get back to my hotel room to discover my boobs are rock hard and have to pump them while knackered, with only a terrible American chatshow for company.

Day 4

Holed up in my hotel room due to a snowstorm, I video call again. Unlike day two I get smiles and a kiss. For my heart, this is worse than the screams.

Day 5

I’m asked, “Have you missed Iona?” At the time I say, “Yes,” knowing this is what is expected of me. My answer is both yes and not really. Do you know who I have spent months missing? Me. In the evenings, alone in my hotel room, I’ve enjoyed not having to plot out what I need to do for my family. Instead, my biggest decisions involved what crap I’m going to watch on the giant telly in the hotel room while I lie in a huge comfy bed.

Day 6

Take a wander around Central Park to visit the locations from one of the best films ever, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. On my walk back to my hotel to collect my suitcase, my husband video calls and tells me about the new dance Iona is doing where she looks as if she is going to fall to her side and then moves swiftly to the other. When she takes a break from dancing, Iona kisses the screen and already I can’t wait to see her.

See Samantha
s previous doodles here.


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Written by Samantha Dooey-Miles

Sam is a first-time mum doodling and blogging her way through teething, nappies and the constant struggle of never quite being sure whether she lives in Essex or London. Find her blog at anewessexgirl.com.