So you would think after my tearful post about leaving my kids for five days, that I would have a really hard time enjoying myself without them.
Nope. I really, really didn’t.
That’s one of those really annoying things about anxiety– you never know it’s a waste of time until later.
The trip had a difficult start, first with actually saying goodbye to Ella and Jack and then a pretty turbulent flight to Atlanta. Like turbulent enough for a woman in the back to scream. But being in Atlanta again, even just the airport, felt so good and, like, right. I didn’t realize until we left Atlanta that the four years we spent there changed me a lot. I had both of my kids there, started this blog there, and really discovered a lot of the passions I’m exploring now. So a 3 hour layover was surprisingly perfect- there’s nothing like eating a burrito from Willy’s and watching Vanderpump Rules reruns in the middle of the day.
The flight to San Francisco was anything but perfect. Turbulent (and every time I looked out my window, we were over a mountain range), and because of bad weather we were rerouted and the flight took longer than expected. It felt like forever (not looking forward to doing it again with Ella and Jack by myself. T-minus 12 days). But finally seeing Matthew again was more than worth it.
I have some experience missing him. We basically spent our entire engagement in different states. He was out of town every week for work when we lived in Atlanta. He went to Ireland for 9 days when I was pregnant with Jack. Morocco for 12 days back in March. But I was completely unprepared for just how this past month without him would make a lot of things clearer for me. I knew it would challenge me and the relentlessness of motherhood wouldn’t always bring out the best in me. I knew it would affect me as a mother but I didn’t know how it would make me so appreciate being his wife. It’s easy to lose sight of the distinction between being a mom and a wife; motherhood completely takes over me a lot of the time. Honestly, sometimes the phrase “wife and mother” seems like an oxymoron. But I’ve missed being a wife. We talk and FaceTime every day but it just isn’t the same. I’m used to us spending our days being pulled apart by our different responsibilities but always coming back together at the end of them. So to be with Matthew again and not be with the kids, to just be a wife for a few days, was more restorative than I could have even dreamed.
I’m happy to report that I barely thought about the kids (maybe I shouldn’t be admitting that??? Mother of the Year, right here), except to call them once a day and look at their cute faces. That was kind of cool actually; I don’t think I’ve ever talked to Ella on the phone before. And Jack is just as precious in 2D. But their schedules and meal times and bedtime routines completely fell away. The time difference helped with that, I’m sure. It was like we were in different worlds and all I could do was live fully in mine.
I was worried that this trip would be defined and derailed by worrying about the kids. Or that it would weaken my resolve for when I got back; that I wouldn’t be able to handle the hard work after having a break from it. I am a big believer in consistency, after all, and a vacation is completely inconsistent with my life. But I feel strengthened by the rest and renewed by the time away. And it was great seeing the kids again. I caught Ella right before she went to bed and to see that she missed me (and her hear little voice tell me as much) strengthened me most of all. I hoped I would appreciate them more while I was gone but I never dreamed they might feel the same about me.
I wrote yesterday that families are meant to be together and that’s true. But I am really grateful for all that I’ve learned while we’ve been apart.