When I was given the opportunity to travel to my company’s Philadelphia office for an overnight business trip I was pretty excited. Okay, more like ecstatic. I had previously only been away from my husband and kids for one night since becoming a mom. I love being a wife and a mom, but a night in my own hotel room? No making dinner, changing diapers, waking up in the middle of the night with a crying child? Um, yes please!
After a day full of traveling and working in the office I joined a group of my co-workers for a fun night out in Philly. There was another woman there from Maryland who, like me, has young children. We began swapping parenting stories, and even birthday party ideas over dinner and drinks. She shared with me that leaving her 3-year-old and 4 month old was a bit hard and confessed that she had even shed a few tears. At that moment, I began to feel guilty. Yes, I started feeling guilty that I was actually excited for the chance to have a little time away and that the only reason my eyes became watery was due to the frigid temperatures. Does this make me a bad mom? Is something wrong with me? Am I a cold-hearted person because I wasn’t sad when I left my babies at home? I tried to reassure myself with reasons for why I’m not those terrible things…
This other mother was going to be away from her kids longer than me and I’d be sad too if I were in her shoes. (I think?)
I deserve a night off. (Doesn’t every parent?)
It’s a great chance for the kids to have some quality bonding time with their dad.
The kids will be fine without me for one night.
I’m obligated to be away from home since I’m traveling for work. (Okay so it wasn’t a requirement, per say, but really more of an opportunity.)
This is not going to scar them for life.
I really, truly, love my children.
Fast forward to the train ride back to CT and I am growing more and more anxious to get home and hug and kiss my sweet little girls. I guess it is true that distance does make the heart grow fonder. Now please don’t misunderstand me. I am more than fond of my children. They mean everything to me. But maybe sometimes it’s nice having the chance to miss them. A chance to miss those silly little giggles, the singing, the toys everywhere, the tickles, the same bedtime stories I’ve read four nights in a row, the messy food faces, the pieces of Cheerios on the floor you don’t realize are there until you hear the crunch beneath your feet, the snuggles, the I love you’s. Maybe sometimes you can’t fully appreciate those things unless you have a chance to miss them. Even if it’s only for one night. One night was all it took to remind me that no matter how far away I may be from my daughters; my heart will always remain wherever they are. They stole my heart the first time I held them in my arms and now it’s theirs for good. They shower me with a love I did not anticipate needing so much. It is a love I know I could not possibly live without and that is something I need no convincing about whatsoever.
I began my trip excited for the opportunity to get away for a little bit, but I ended my trip MUCH more excited to get back home.