I can feel the panic starting to rise. That burning in the pit of my stomach that causes my heart to pound and my breath to catch. The one that causes me to feel the catch in my throat as I try to keep the tears from pouring down my face.

In 17 minutes I go home. And I won't be picking up The Smoodge before I get there.

For the first time in 2 years.

She's spending the night with her dad tonight. She's never done that before. Every night of her life, since the moment she was born, she has slept in MY arms, in MY bed. She has woken up every morning and planted kisses all over MY face (even if it's AFTER she's Sharpied MY couch cushions). She has had her pudgy little feet jammed into MY ribs and spine. She wakes up in the middle of the night to pull MY arms back around her.

But not tonight. Not tomorrow morning.

Now we're down to 12 minutes.