Stage 1: Joyful Anticipation
You decide to take a trip, without the kids. You’re about 2-3 months out at this point. It’s basically all you think about. Every time one of the kids whines…”this time 3 months from now, I will be lying on a beach, drink in hand, and this will be a distant memory”. Every time you try to escape to the bathroom, only for them to FIND you there, and stand by you and stare at you, and ask you things….”this time 2 months from now I will be lying on a beach, drink in hand, and this will all be a distant memory”.
Stage 2: Uncertainty Sets In
You are about a week out at this point. Your children are becoming increasingly more precious and delightful with every passing moment, because the reality that you are about to be AWAY from them begins to set in, and suddenly instead of that thought bringing you immense joy, it’s kinda starting to make you…sad. Maybe this was a really bad idea. Why don’t we not go after all? Or, maybe we should go and TAKE them? That would be fun! Yes, that’s what we ought to do. I mean, what if our plane crashes, and we leave them parentless? What if something happens to them while we are gone? This is the worst idea ever. Did we buy trip insurance? Let’s cancel. I love them so much.
Stage 3: The Big Goodbye
It’s D-Day. You still have no idea why or how you got talked into this, but you really are leaving them. You are about to drop them off with their grandparents or aunt and uncle or friend or sitter or whatever…someone who you are now convinced is completely incompetent, and probably needs another 5 pages of written instructions from you, in addition to the 10 that you have already provided them with. “Did I tell you he likes to sleep with that particular stuffed animal? He likes his milk warmed for exactly 42 seconds in the microwave before he drinks it? The number to our hotel is written here, and here, and here (I mean, or Google)”. “Bye baby! We’re leaving. I love you so much. I love you. One more kiss? Do you want more hug? I love you! Please be careful! Want one more kiss? Oh, you don’t really even care that I’m leaving? He probably won’t remember me by the time we get back. We should probably not go. ”
Stage 4: The Goodbye is Over. You’re Kinda Sad. But Also, Not.
Pull out of the driveway. Wipe a stray tear. Ask your husband again, “you think they’re going to be ok?”. “Is who gonna be ok?”, he asks. (Oh to be a man). Sit in tearful reflection for a moment. Then…jam out to some Kanye on the way to the airport because…ain’t nobody gotta be listening to kid-appropriate music right now.
Stage 5: The kids? What kids? Whose kids?
Sleep late. Breakfast in bed. Coffee…but not ’til like 10 am. Piña Coladas. Starting at like 10:30 am (why not?). Uninterrupted conversation. Naps. Should we call the kids and check in? Nah. It will probably upset them. Or they could be napping? Or something.
Stage 6: Re-Entry
You’re starting to miss them. You can’t wait to see them. This trip has been amazing, but you’re ready to hug your babies. You envision opening the door and them running to you, arms outstretched. You’ll snuggle each other all day, and hear all the details from your time away from each other. You’ll play anything and everything they like, because you are rested, refreshed, and you’ve missed them so.
Stage 7: FML
The reunion was sweet. So sweet. For like 5 minutes. But now, as you are being woken at 6 am with an elbow in your face, breaking up the first fight of the day by 6:05 am, and cleaning up a puddle of spilled milk by 6:10 am, all you can think about is, “this time yesterday morning, I was…..”.
Still sleeping. You were still sleeping. For another four hours.