All weekend I felt it building. Fear, worry, sadness. By Sunday night it peaked into what I can only describe as an anxiety attack. My heart was racing; I could feel it strongly beating in my chest so very quickly. I couldn’t catch my breath. I couldn’t fall asleep. My whole body was tense. I kept envisioning horrible scenarios…and then berating myself because obviously to think them would somehow make them become a reality. Haven’t you ever read The Secret?
Eventually, after several hours, my motherhood exhaustion and pregnancy fatigue conspired together to knock me out. But even as I awoke early Monday morning, I was still a mess. The physical aspects were gone, but the worry and concern and panic were still there.
What set all this off, you ask? A trip to an exciting locale I have been dying (ugh, poor word choice) to visit for over a decade: Mexico City.
Well, that sounds lovely, Annie. Why did you turn into a panicky disaster? Oh, because we are going for a week. WITHOUT the boys. Yes, this is our very first time away from the boys and we are just diving right in with a week away from them…internationally.
As my Obstetrician said to me when I told her how panicked I was, “Why on earth are you going to another country and for a whole week as your first trip away from your kids? You’re supposed to start with a weekend away somewhere where you can get back in a car within two hours.” The ‘duh’ was not technically stated, but very clearly implied.
The things nobody tells me ahead of time. I swear.
So, I squeezed both boys extra, extra tight for what was probably an inappropriate amount of time Monday night. I told them I loved them a million times and ways. And then I told them some more. I kissed them on the perfect bridges of their perfect little noses and on the their perfectly dense little fingers and cheeks. Then I told them I loved them again.
We left cards for each of them to discover at breakfast the next morning once we were gone. And I vowed to bring them back the coolest little Mexican trinkets and goodies we could find.
Since almost all medicine and definitely all varieties of whiskey and tequila are off limits when you are pregnant, I had to use sheer will to get myself out of the apartment at 3:00 am Tuesday morning and onto that plane to Mexico. Well, sheer will and my frugality. Do you know how much flights to Mexico city, a nice hotel for a week, black tie outfits and six other event outfits add up to? More than I was willing to just throw away. Plus, it is my husband’s best friend getting married and he has been an important part of both of our lives for about 13 years now. We both had to be there.
Clearly, I must care about this guy because I not only left my babies for the first time, but also spent eleven hours traveling on two airplanes, in two taxis, and all on only about three hours of sleep. While pregnant.
(You know how you can add ‘in bed’ to any statement or fortune cookie quote and make it instantly dirty and hysterical? ‘While pregnant’ works the same way after any statement, but to clarify just how stinking difficult and extreme the situation was.)
In any event, it was actually really nice to travel alone with my husband. We read magazines! And books! And listened to music! That stuff never happens when you are flying with kids. You know what else I did? I watched the in-flight movie. Guilt Trip. Not intelligent. Me, not the movie, that is. (Although the movie was no philosophical brain-bender either.) Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogan, mother and son, go on a road trip. I cried no less than three times. Thankfully, both my husband and the woman next to me were asleep and missed this embarrassing moment. Although, you know I told my husband as soon as he woke up anyway. Seriously, if you’re wondering, don’t watch anything mother/son related if you are a mother who just left her sons for the first time to board an international flight. Bad idea.
As you can imagine, the boys on the other hand, are having the most amazing time ever. Did I mention my parents are the ones at our home taking care of them? And on Thursday they switch with my in-laws? Yeah, the boys are getting to do, eat, drink, and have anything their little hearts desire. If my mom didn’t confide in me that not only did Carlitos read both cards aloud Tuesday morning, but that both boys wanted to read the cards again Wednesday morning, I would wonder if they missed us at all.
We have now been in Mexico City for less than 24 hours and we have already bought two little items for the boys and emailed back and forth with my mom about their activities and well-being a good 75 times. My heart hasn’t raced and I haven’t felt total panic. Everything is going to be fine. We will have an exciting week and they will be well cared for and have a blast.
But man, if I couldn’t see this truth Sunday night. It truly felt like there was no way anything other than disaster would come of us leaving the boys. So, if you are reading this and ever find yourself feeling that level of panic about leaving your kids, know that you are not alone. And also remind yourself that it will be okay if you do travel without your kids. And you won’t even have to wake up at 6 am! Although you probably still will…