The chance to leave town for even a day or two without taking the children along is a crazy notion due to the excessive planning, orchestrating of schedules and inconvenience to others who bear the responsibility for my children in my absence. But this time would be even crazier since we were talking about a full week away. Seven days hanging out in California sounded so delightful even I didn’t balk at the work involved to pull it off. At least not while I was booking my travel.
It wasn’t until reality set in a few days later and the true advance work got underway. My parents would be summoned to care for the children, neighbors and friends would be called upon to help with carting them from event to event.
The house would need to be in order, laundry done, guest quarters prepared, insurance information would be disseminated to all the appropriate parties, schedules printed out with instructions for daily routines like allergy pills and bed time reading. Of course as the days grew closer, the incredible stress of getting it all done grew ever heavier leading to lists being made to remember the last list. I found myself at times standing in random rooms in a complete stupor so overwhelmed by the amount of tasks to be finished that it rendered me unable to decide where to start. One day I found myself putting fresh broccoli away in the pantry.
What would I forget to pack? What if I forgot something important for the kids? What if I missed my connecting flight in Chicago? When the day before my departure arrived I was thrilled. I couldn’t wait to escape all this madness I had created. And the day passed like a flash before my eyes. I was packing in a frenzy, since of course I left my own planning and preparation until the last minute. In an instant I was saying good night to two tearful boys and suddenly everything changed. Suddenly all I could think of is, “What if something goes wrong?” What if one of them is sick or gets hurt? What if something happens to me? What if this was all a huge mistake? Maybe I should never have decided to go? Even taking off the in the early hours of the following morning I still had apprehension about my decision.
It wasn’t’ until my body was adjusting to California time that I finally came to my senses. I began to realize how much we parents needed time away, time to ourselves, time to be two instead of four, time to invest in us. And each day I was separated from those two parts of me back home was a day I learned more about the boys they have become and the mom I have become.
We talked and texted and laughed and missed each other and we all grew in our own ways to appreciate each other a little more, to pine away for hugs and old familiar routine that we sometimes take for granted. In the end, I couldn’t wait to see them, at the foot of the stairs at the airport. I swear they had grown, and not just in inches. We all did. I am so happy that all the planning, daunting execution, and exhausting travel was worth it for all of us. Now I just have to decide where to go next!