I’ve just come home from a four day/four night jaunt to New York City and had a great time. I went without my children and although I thought about them sometimes, I didn’t miss them. I even – wait for it - I even missed my son’s birthday to go on this trip. This may be unthinkable for some people, but I did it, and here’s why and how.
1. The kids were in good hands with their dad, spending the long weekend up at the cottage with cousins, uncles and grandparents. It would be easier for my husband to take care of them with the village-style set-up of the cottage, and the children love it there. I had no time to help pack the children’s things, and made a point to give no advice about this or anything else concerning the kids. So what if they would be wearing each other’s clothes and not enough sunscreen and maybe brushing their teeth once a day. I knew they would be well looked after and fine with their dad. Better than fine.
2. Before my trip, I talked to my son – on three separate occasions – about the prospect of me missing his birthday. He was nonplussed. We had two bigger birthday parties planned on other the weekends bookending my trip to celebrate his big day, and I would be there for these. I was sorry to miss the actual day but it’s common for us to celebrate when we can get people together and that’s usually not on the same day. My son asked me to call him on his birthday, which I did, and he heard a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday from the Big Apple – my mother hurried out of the bathroom to add her voice to our chorus.
3. I wanted to do something special for the women in my family. My sister turned 50 this year, which is the reason my sister-in-law suggested this trip. When my mother joined in, I knew that as the sole remaining female adult of the family, I needed to go. I am joyfully bound and committed to my immediate family, but my sense of kinship is broader than that, and I want to enjoy and support as much of my bigger family as I can.
4. I left the guilties in the dust. The truth is that New York City is not really my speed – I prefer slower, smaller settings – but while I was in the city that doesn’t sleep, I was determined to enjoy it. Everything was lightweight on this trip, from my bags to my responsibilities to my desires, and it was a lovely breather. I was not pining for home or my kids, and I knew that this was not because I felt untethered from home, but precisely because I feel so connected to my home base. I know where I belong, and I knew to what and to whom I would soon be returning, and this made being away from home very easy. It is exactly my wish for how my boys will feel as they increasingly have their adventures away from home, and this pleased me.
5. I *loved* seeing my boys (and got some above average hugs) when I got back, just as I knew I would. It was a great trip, and a great return.