Finally, I’m on a vacation away from my normal routine.
I have actually been away from work, home, kids, and everything familiar to me for the past two days. Before I leave town, of course, I always seem to have periods of anxiety and stress. Maybe it’s guilt for leaving my kids behind. I started parenthood as a single mom, and after 8 years of marriage I find myself there again. Don’t get me wrong; my life is blessed right now and I appreciate it… but sometimes the happy details get lost in the fog of worry.
Somehow, despite being a mother now for nearly 15 years, I still find myself wrestling with guilt when I have to go away from my kids. As much as I know that I’m the kind of person who needs some measure of autonomy and independence from the family unit, I still struggle to let myself enjoy it when it comes. I was an only child, and now I’m raising multiples. I cherish time alone, time without other humans relying on me for comfort or security. Somehow, when the opportunity presents itself, I still go into a sort of panic. Before I leave on a trip, business or otherwise, I can feel my stress levels rising steadily. Somehow I always end up considering a last minute cancellation.
Often, because my kids are at the teen and ‘tween stages of life, I also end up mediating arguments between them all the way through my attempts to pack for a trip. This certainly doesn’t help my mentality, and usually I end up in tears, assigning guilt trips. Of course, my children are both growing into amazing people and they not only survive my absence, but end up reassuring me through words and improved behavior by the time I have to leave. Love overcomes eventually.
Still, it’s a roller coaster every time. From the moment I say goodbye to them, I feel my stress levels coming back down. Once I’m away, after all, there’s nothing further I can do to prepare them or myself for whatever happens. On the plane, looking out the window, I finally realize that there’s truly nothing I can be held accountable for until we touch down on the ground. I’m in the air. I’m going somewhere new (or at least different from the usual). On vacation, I can live in the moment and notice the details with more clarity.
As I write this, I’m sitting in the dining room of a fairly nice hotel, enjoying quiet time and finally overcoming the writer’s block. My children are safe, my responsibilities are waiting for me when I return, and my time is completely my own. Right now, this minute, I am writing. It feels good.