I'm about to have a Mom Milestone ... I'm leaving the family for a few days to head west for a conference. It's the first time I've left both kids for more than a few hours, and the first time I've taken a trip by myself since 2003. I will admit that I am looking forward to a little peace and quiet in the evenings, but I also know that I'm going to miss Big J, Mister J, and Miss M terribly. I know that when I get home, Miss M's smile will be different - those three teeth that are just barely poking through her gums will be noticeably closer to their final destination. Mister J will be able to kick a soccer ball even further than before I left. And while I know that my kids will be in good hands - they'll be having a great time with Daddy - I will still worry about them. It's just what a mother does. And the wife part of me worries about Big J, too - these two kiddos are a handful! While I don't doubt his ability to care for them - he is often able to remain calm in situations where I'm about to lose my cool, and in general he's way more laid back - I know just what a tough job it can be sometimes!
I am doing the best I can to prepare the family for my absence. The freezer is full of Dream Dinners, and there are already a few thawing for the coming few days. I went to the grocery store on Saturday. We have started a new grocery list since then, but perhaps that's an excursion for Big J and the little ones. I'm talking to (little) J each day about my trip, preparing him for the few days that Dad is in charge. Big J is slowly taking over some of the routine with Miss M so she can adjust in her own way. Most importantly, I've performed the requested "brain dump" - put the most important things Big J needs to know on paper. I don't think that there is a way to prepare myself, other than to think about the trip itself - What do I need to pack? Did I remember to print my e-ticket? Should I check in online the night before? (That's a big YES, since I have to be at the airport at 6am....)
At dinner time each night I'm gone, I know that I'll be calling home to check in with the fam, tell the little ones goodnight (due to the 3-hour time difference), and count down the number of days until I'm home. Thank goodness for the "all-you-can-call" cell phone plan. I imagine there will be plenty of text and pix messages, too - that's what we did when Big J was on a business trip. Surely then I will know how hard it was for Big J to be away from us for a week, and I'll decide that perhaps next year, we will all go to the conference together again. It'll be in Boston - a much more manageable family trip.