I am sitting here on my flight from Newark to Las Vegas with only my carry on, my coffee and my magazines. Alone. No strollers, no car seats, no toys and even better…no whining! A child-free weekend away with just adults is on the agenda for my Aunt’s birthday. I’m super excited! I admit though that all I am thinking about are my children. The little ones I spend my days and nights chasing after and caring for are constantly on my mind. I wonder why is it that I can’t enjoy this 5 hour flight reading magazines and catnapping…things I have only dreamed of doing the last 6 years! What are my kids doing right now? Did my husband get them down for naps? How did it go with the sitter today while he was at work? “Stop,” I tell myself. “You are finally away, all alone, so just relax and enjoy the quiet time!” No matter what I do, I just can’t shut my mommy mind down.
So, I am here now. I made it to Las Vegas and am at a hotel right on the popular “Vegas Strip.” I have been counting down the days to get away on this ladies only mini vacation, yet I feel so depressed to be here. I feel alone. Empty. I call my husband and the kids at home and look through some family photos on my I Pad. I begin to cry. Am I homesick? I haven’t felt this way since I went to Girl Scout Camp when I was 12. This is going to be the longest weekend ever. Why did I come? I thought I was ready for this, but I certainly was not. I just want to lie in the room and watch some Blue Bloods episodes to pass the time. I begin to dwell on getting home to my family, when the weekend’s festivities haven’t even started. I decide the best thing is to go out with the ladies and try to have fun. “This is my niece from New Jersey and this the first time she left her three kids” my aunt tells everyone during introductions when we go out. I can hardly talk about it to anyone without crying. I hold back tears each time someone tries to engage in conversation about my children. However, I realized that the more I talked about it, the more people shared their own stories about leaving their families. They all say it will get easier. I don’t believe them, but I let them talk anyway.
Before I know it, I am having a great time, laughing, telling stories and I feel…actually happy. I go home after a GREAT night out. It’s my second day in Vegas, and I only have one day left of my mini vacation. This wasn’t too bad after all. I decide to pack the day with lunch, a massage at the spa, and another night on the strip with the ladies. We find ourselves ending the evening at a dueling piano bar. “Wow, my husband would love it here!” I think. “It would be awesome to get a sitter for the night and go into New York City for the great piano bars.” I realize that suddenly, I was having the time of my life and was unintentionally already planning my next get away! How could this be? I felt so homesick just yesterday without my family. But, somehow I had another GREAT night out on the town in Vegas.
My time is up now. I am getting ready to board the plane back home. It seems motherhood can’t escape you, even if you are alone on a flight for 5 hours. As mothers, our family is our priority. The reason we breathe every single day. It feels so unnatural to be apart from them. Yet, this weekend has taught me I just how important that time away can be, whether it is 2 days or just 2 hours. I feel refreshed. I feel human. I was able to celebrate the relationships and interests I have with other people besides my children. I am so glad I took the opportunity to get away for some alone time. Once again, I sit here anxiously awaiting the smiles on the faces of my children and the warm snuggles and stories we will share when I get home. It takes practice, like everything else. I am no expert, but I am learning that we need to get away sometimes as moms. Our reunion together in a few short hours will be better than ever, because we will appreciate how lucky we are to be together after 2 days apart. And I know that after a few weeks of diapers, playgrounds and Sesame Street, that Piano Bar weekend away with my husband will look better than ever!