I traveled for 12 years, without a hitch.
I used to be that “don’t date a girl who travels” girl. Except I traveled for work. It was a glorious respite from the responsibilities of the world.
I had a dozen years of carrying my passport, enthusiastically, around in my purse. Looking for any and every chance to use it.
And then, I had a baby.
It’s cliche, I know. But this commonplace event was and is cherished.
I put down my roll-aboard and picked up my life as a mom. A committed, uncommon mom.
It’s not as glamorous as sitting with high ranking government officials at a black-tie tourism event, that is for sure.
Nothing glamorous about sleeping four winks at a time while your child fights a fever or throws up all over you.
Not one thing.
But that’s your job. That’s what you signed up for. The hardest work you’ll ever have.
It’s underpaid, under appreciated and to be honest, underwhelming most times.
But the rewards are intense. The love is exponential and the companionship, at least in my case, far surpasses anything I’ve experienced. Other than my relationship with my own parents, of course.
I have created and grown this funny little person, who looks just like me but has her own vibe. Her own style. Her own mind, for which, she is not embarrassed to share.
She is an amazing person who completely owns me.
I try to take her everywhere with me. I figure she can only benefit from our travels and her interaction with new people and things. Taking her out of school so she can experience the summer home of Salvador Dali or learn about the migration of wild Atlantic Bottle-Nose dolphins first hand – not a problem in my book.
There are rules though, now that she’s in 3rd grade. I can’t take her out of school for too long. Especially not in the spring, when they’re getting ready for testing.
Boring. Totes McGotes.
So these days, when I have to leave her for work trips, I am lost. Devastated. Anxiety-ridden doesn’t even begin to explain it.
I have been preparing for a three-night trip away from her for at least a month. I have a mental checklist – find the right caregiver or place to stay; let the school know, let the aftercare know, reschedule guitar, make sure projects are done…the list is ENDLESS.
Also note, the list is the only way I can manage my madness. If I don’t make a list I over, over prepare to a level of OCD that cannot be heard on any frequency because it is too high pitched.
All of this, for three nights.
I’ve laundered her clothes. I’ve packed her bags.
Purchased everything she could possibly want to eat for three nights + enough for the two friends she’s staying with. I’ve purchased components of a dinner for the parents of the two friends she’s staying with, as a thank you.
I have an air mattress and bedding packed up.
I have made lunch for the time I’m gone, so the mom doesn’t have to. I’ve printed and signed notes to go in the said lunches.
I’ve sent an email to everyone who is on the contingency plan, alerting them of everyone’s contact numbers, emergency plans, what ifs and all.
Tomorrow I will drop off her pillows and bunny.
And I will still have anxiety over it. Until the moment I get back.
I’m exhausted with wreck. Wreckhausted.
Best case scenario, she won’t want to come home. She will have so much fun that she is unmoved by my return.
How’s that for a kick in the taters? I hope she’s so happy she doesn’t even notice I’m gone.
That’s what I hope for, although I will miss her terribly.
“I’ll be ok, mom” she says, when I tell her that I don’t like to leave her.
She’s growing up. I’m happy and crushed all at the same time.
My tagline? Motherhood, it’s wreckhausting.