my mother is going to kill me

Img_1898It looks like I really am going to get to go to Spain next month.  I think.  I know this is disgusting and unbelievable, but I don’t have to pay for my flight.  Hotel is covered, too.  I have friends who firmly believe that I need a vacation, a real one, and they are in a position to make this happen for me.  I’m really, really, really lucky.

So, I’ve got my Lonely Planet travel book, I’m already taking a million photos and walks through amazing places in the daydreams I have while driving the kids to school or flossing my teeth.  (I floss, so should you.  It’s important.) 

This morning, Willow climbed into bed with us before the sun came up.  She had on her footie dinosaur pajamas and was holding one of her little stuffed animal dogs. She wasn’t crying, but she was all wobbly and her hair was in her face.  She pushed it out of the way with her one free hand and said, "Hi, Mom."  Then she got in bed next to me, put her hand on my cheek and kissed me.  "I’m fweeeeeezing," she said as she scootched under the blankets.  She likes to sleep next to me and for my arm to be under the back of her neck, holding her.  "Arms around you," she said, and then closed her eyes and went back to sleep.

She woke me up a couple of hours later.  It’s a terrible thing to lay in bed when the sun is up, at least for her.  "It’s morning, Mom.  Get up."  So, I did and we went into the bathroom.  She was still holding her little dog, and now she also had a very old powder brush.  A million years ago, I wore make up.  Every day.  I used to use loose powder, and the brush is the kind with a big handle that’s weighted so it’ll stand up on the counter with the brush part in the air.  The brush is really full and soft, and Willow likes to brush her dogs with it and run it over her arms and face.  She handed me the dog and the brush then unzipped her jammies so she could pee.  She pulled herself up onto the toilet and scratched the sides of her hips where her undies had left marks in her skin.  "Can we go to the ice cream store?"  No, I said, they aren’t open yet.  "Is the park open, den?  Can we go to da park?"  In a little while.  She looked at me and said she loved me and all I could think was I can’t possibly go on this trip

I know.

But, she is so damn cute.  She just is.  I feel like it wouldn’t be right for her to come to my bed before dawn and have me be eight hours ahead of her and thousands of miles away.  Across a whole country and an ocean.  I just didn’t want to go.

I’m really interested in how biology influences the way we parent.  In instincts and hormones and reflexes.  Like how if I’m in public and a newborn is crying for more than a minute or two, I get uncomfortable.  Physically uncomfortable; my body is telling me to go take care of that baby.  When I look at my kids, I think it’s impossible that anyone anywhere ever loved another person so much.   That is a real feeling, but it’s inspired by this instinct I have to take care of my children — it’s rooted in the part of me that thinks only in terms of being a mother, of protecting, of caring.  Right now, my instincts are crossways with my wants.  The result is that I panic about going.  I feel really, horribly guilty. 

I’m going to go on this trip.  I am scared, more than I can ever recall be scared by anything, when I think about the flight.  I might drink myself into a coma on the plane and hope I end up in the right place.   I think, though, that it’s not actually the plane that has me so nervous.  I think it’s that I’m totally going against that little voice that tells me I shouldn’t go so far away.  The voice that says, what if something happens and you aren’t here?  what if something happens and you can’t come home?  what if what if what if. . . you should stay home.

I’ve never done anything like this before.  Everyone I talk to is so supportive.  My mom, especially, says that I absolutely MUST go, no matter what comes up or how impossible it might seem.  And, I really do want to go.  I have taken a weekend here and there to go visit family without my kids, but that isn’t like this.  This is about me going away and having a few days that are just mine.  A few days that aren’t defined and ordered by so many other people.  It’s like traveling back in time and it’s totally going to move me forward.

8 thoughts on “my mother is going to kill me

  1. Marsha

    I am leaving my family next month too. For a week to go house hunting in Mississippi. I could have let my husband go, his job takes him out of town a lot, and that would have been the easiest thing for the family. Instead, I insisted that it was my turn. Now, he is taking care of the girls, which is something outside of his area of expertise and I am traveling around the world dealing with grown ups, which is outside my area of expertise. I am feeling guilty and nervous.

    One thing I have learned from all my travels is that instict isn’t always right. Change feels wrong, getting past that feeling is something that is incredibly important in my opinion to teach my girls. I don’t want them to grow up and be stuck in a dead end job, or a dead end marriage, etc because change feels wrong. I don’t want that for myself either. This is one of the reasons that I tend to force the envelope and face my fears, as an example for the girls and as a reminder that my life is the life I have chosen.

    Have fun! I hope that once you are on the plane you will have a great time. In the long run this is only a small dot of their entire childhood, most likely they wont even remember you were gone in the years to come, yet it is something you will take with you forever.

  2. mamadaisy

    i know it’s incredibly difficult to leave, but don’t you dare feel the teensiest bit guilty or even consider skipping the trip. of all people, YOU deserve time for yourself. enjoy every minute of it.

  3. Suebob

    I am not a mom so this is easy for me to say. But I think it will actually be good for your kids to see you doing something like this, a mom adventure, where they can see that you have a big, interesting life outside of them. You will come back with stories and pictures and trinkets and they can be proud that their mom does cool things. I think everyone will benefit.

    The guidebook – I have to say that I have travelled both ways, with obsessive guidebook-studying and without, and I recommend giving it a glance over but not getting too tied to it. When I went to Kauai, I had the island MEMORIZED before I got there, and I had this List and I wanted to accomplish everything and it took some of the joy out of it because I was so tense to get everything done.

    When I went to Mexico, I purposefully knew nothing about the area where I was going. I should probably have done a LITTLE research so as to know what not to miss, but I think I enjoyed exploring so much more without big expectations.

  4. marian

    I know exactly what you mean about being afraid that you’ll be punished somehow, with some kind of loss, or worse, that your kids will lose, if you go and do something for yourself.

    I think, like Marsha says, that this type of fear is just part of the territory. I still feel guilty going anywhere and my own kid is in college! He’s not even home! But I still think — what if something happens to me — I should stay home. It’s crazy.

    I always try to distinguish between this type of irrational, stupid guilt, and real intuition. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s what, but there’s a difference between ‘I want to go but I’m afraid to’ and ‘I really don’t think I should go.’

    I hope you go, have a wonderful time, everything goes smoothly at home, and this liberates you in meaningful ways.

  5. falwyn

    Yes! You got it right on — it’s a gut, body thing, the uncomfortableness, sending me back to the babes, sometimes even when I’ve barely been gone five minutes and I want to be away for a while. Definitely a body thing.

    That said, take the trip, have a fabulous time.

  6. badgermama

    It’s going to be GREAT!!! But yes, I missed Moomin so much last time I was gone and it felt all weird and wrong, as if I’d forgotten him in a parking lot somewhere and driven off… On the other hand, it’s just great and you will connect with yourself and the world in a new way and will surely have a blast!

    Don’t worry, they won’t forget who you are or anything!


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