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A Trip Away

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It’s hard for me to leave my kids – nearly impossible. I may be in the minority. I know other mothers who went on solo vacations away from their children months after they were born. I felt differently. I didn’t want to leave them. The idea of leaving them brought on major anxiety. After my first child was born, my husband and I argued about taking vacations away. He wanted them and I didn’t. My feelings stemmed from a mixture of anxiety, hormones from breastfeeding, control freak tendencies and my own childhood memories when my mother took trips away.

***

On a side note, readers, please have patience for those people in your life who struggle leaving their children. Their decision to opt out of a weekend away is not about their friendship with you/ their love for their husband/ or the importance of the event, it is about them having the faith to leave their heart/the center of their life’s orbit in the care of someone else and trust that everything will be okay. They will be missed but not forgotten. This takes a lot of faith. Some parents understand that if they leave it will be fine and others need some time to figure this out.

***

As time passes, I realize the importance of taking mini vacations. I realize my most precious little people will thrive while I’m away. Most importantly, I want to be an example of a mother who is more than just a wife and mother. A mother who is a woman. A woman that likes to have fun. A multidimensional woman who values family, friendships, adventures, self-care and pursues her dreams.

***

“Mama, you’re going to a Bachelorwet party?” My three-year-old asks, her mispronunciation may be the cutest thing ever.

“Yep, a Bachelorette Party in Miami,” I chime. I’ve been anxious about this trip for several months, but as it approaches my excitement increases.

“What’s a Bachelorette Party?” The girls ask.

“It’s a party you have with your girlfriends before you get married.” I say.

“I want to have my Bachelorette Party in the jungle,” my five-year-old declares.

“Pretty cool,” I say. My mind races, I am pathetically nervous about this weekend:

  1. I haven’t seen my roommate from college in years (in which I became a mom to three kiddos) and I don’t know any of the other women joining her on this weekend.
  2. It has been a long time since I’ve been out after 10pm in Denver, let alone Miami.
  3. I am slightly intimidated by the other women on the trip. These women are successful, from New York City and Los Angeles – I think, clearly, cooler than a stay-at-home-mom from Denver.
  4. In situations where I don’t know anyone, I’m embarrassed to say, my husband has become my security blanket. I think this happens to a certain degree after nine years of marriage, especially for introverts who struggle to leave the couch.
  5. I have never left all three children.
  6. I could die in a plane crash. My husband would be left alone with three small children. I visualize him remarrying a beautiful young thirty-something (perhaps 20-something) immediately and my children calling her “mom” as I become a distant memory. For this highly paranoid reason, I haven’t taken solo flights away from my kids. FYI, I’m aware that there is a higher probability of me dying in a car than a plane crash, but for some reason air travel makes me paranoid. It would be very unhealthy if I was this anxious every time I got in the car.

***

The trip could have gone in a number of different ways, but in the end it was amazing.

I felt good. I went on a shopping spree, which was really a declaration of having possession of my body again –no more pregnancies or breastfeeding. I bought a couple of amazingly “hot Miami” dresses to wear out at night. I bought some bootie sandals like these –  seriously, they make any outfit.

I called my twin sister and told her that if I died in a plane crash, she would have to move to Colorado and tell my children stories about their real mom every day. She told me to “Shut-Up”, but promised she would in the case of my death.

I got on a plane with a small purse. (Other parents will recognize the miracle of this moment). I brought this book and finished listening to this Podcast.

I was ambitious. I packed this book and this book as back up, but I didn’t read either of them.

The afternoon I arrived I sat on the beach and ordered a fresh watermelon drink spiked with vodka and drank it in the sand.

I discovered there is such thing as a selfie stick. As someone who can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve taken a selfie, I came to appreciate the invention (you can take group photos of everyone without anyone stepping out of the picture) and now realize why other people’s selfies are way better than my own (it takes practice).

My beautiful friend from college and I caught up.

I met her amazing friends from New York City and Los Angeles. They seemed intimidating, but they are REAL and so much FUN. My husband can spend days with a group of men and come away with few personal details. Forty-eight hours with these women and we became friends, we listened to each other’s stories, took a break from our lives, shared and connected.

I realized Colorado girls have style too.

I didn’t talk about my kids. Okay, I shared a couple of pictures and funny stories.

I enjoyed hearing – “What, you have three kids? I can’t believe it.” It turns out I don’t have a MOM tattoo stamped on my forehead.

I appreciated and loved my husband from a far. He didn’t complain once about single parenting while I was away.

A five hour flight delay, I came home to freezing temps and a windshield of solid ice. Refreshed. Exhausted. Out of routine. Back to the grind. I ordered some new lipstick, which is always a good “Me” sign.

12 thoughts on “A Trip Away

  1. I love everything about this post… Well, everything except the fact that you were preparing for your possible death by airplane crash. The sandals, the lipstick, the bonding, the fact that no one suspected you were a mom, all of it. I LOVED Serial… I wonder if I will love Station 11, too. It’s on my “to read” list. I took a trip to a BlogHer conference when my older child was 17 months old. It was my first substantial chunk of time (3 night) away from her and it was amazing. I still haven’t done anything without the baby (at least nothing longer than about 4 hrs), because I just don’t think it would be fun if I had to take my pump… And I am sure my husband would sleep through her 3am-ish feeding and I hate to think of that.

  2. Thank you! Your comment gave me a little confidence boost. 🙂 It is hard to figure out the logistics of getting away, but it is liberating to get away. My next goal is to go on a writing retreat … one day. 🙂

  3. I’m so proud of you, my beautiful friend, for this piece, for making the trip and for being such an incredible mother and wife! It meant everything to me that you were there. Love you tons!

  4. Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip! I totally understand where you’re coming from with not wanting to leave. Elf is almost 18 months and I have yet to leave him for more than 8 hours. There’s more than one reason for that, but I really haven’t pushed through those other (completely solvable) issues for the simple reason that this one… he’s my last, he’s my baby. We’re still nursing once or twice a day. He just passed that threshold of change from “looking like a baby” to “looks like a real little boy” this past week and I’m scared that leaving overnight will jump-start that irrevocable growing up and away change. I’m not ready for that.

    • It really is so hard to leave, inexplicably hard. I’m leaving for the wedding at the end of March and just thinking about it makes me a little anxious. Thank you for reading and commenting.

  5. Yay! Brave, funny, wonderfully honest niece. How fun to read yet another wonderful blog by you. Have fun on all future journeys – inside and outside.

  6. I smiled and nodded at the moment you described where someone was surprised you have three kids. On the occasions that someone has interacted with me for a while before knowing I have any kids and then it comes out I have four, I sort of love that look of surprise. Four!? Of course sometimes I say it and the person is not at all surprised and interested and I”m left wondering if I look tired and old enough and that is why. I know, so vain.

    Glad you had a great trip!

  7. When my kids were younger, I found it easier to leave, but now that they older (8-14), it’s harder. And oh, the plane anxiety, almost unbearable. It’s been a while since I had a mom getaway, though. I need to do that. And you MUST read Me Before You and Patchett’s book – both are mazing!

  8. My husband and I just came back for vacation and it doesn’t get any easier as they get older. If anything, I LIKE hanging out with my kids and always think, “Oh, the kids would LOVE this!” It’s quite annoying actually. I found that leaving my children behind was easier when they were small because I needed the physical break so I could talk to other adults, catch up on sleep, etc. However, it ALWAYS seemed that I sat near a small child on the plane ride home that was close to my own child’s age. There are ups and downs of it all but in the end, I know it is good for us and for the kids to have a break from each other. Glad you had a great time!

    • Agreed, I think it is harder to leave the older they get. Vacations away are great, but somehow it feels like I pay the price for them when I get home. This last run of sickness was major payback. 😊

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