This week I've had to go out of town and I've learned precisely how long it takes for things to break down in my careful “while mommy's gone” plan.
It's about two hours.
Like most moms, I'm pretty sure my family can do without me for a few days without any major damage. But I also know the ship lists just a bit.
The first major leak with the carefully planned list of weekend activities. I had planned these activities without realizing I was going to be out of town. I had carefully spent hours printing out detailed maps and agendas of the activities scheduled. What was I thinking? That I was dealing with a tour operator?
Needless to say, instead of the host of educational activities I had planned for over a month ago, the first few hours I was gone (I hadn't even landed at my destination for goodness sake) the plan unraveled into a mass of cupcakes, spontaneous playdates, sleepovers, and shopping.
The next leak was when I discovered how long it takes for my children to notice that I'm actually gone. Of course they said goodbye, and knew I was leaving, but it all hit home the second night. I picked up the phone as I headed to my hotel room, expecting a cheery "So how's it going? do you want to talk to the kids?" kind of call. Instead there's a long wail.
“MOOOOMMMMY!!!! I MI.. MI... MISS YOOOUUUU!"
At least that's what I think she was saying. Frankly my ears still ringing.
There's not much that's as bittersweet as having your child, the one who was too busy on a computer game to even acknowledge your departure, call you from hundreds of miles away in a complete meltdown because it has finally occurred to her that you are actually not there.
“When are you coming back?" she wailed.
“Thursday. Remember?"I said.
She sniffled. "How far is it to your hotel?”
I suddenly had a vision of Mireya attempting to hitchhike across country, stuffed animal in one hand and four changes of clothes in the other.
“Oh, it's very, very far. But you can always call me.”
“Okay" she said.
Having dodged the complete meltdown bullet, we read a book over the phone, and then Sierra got on the line to recount all the trials and tribulations of big sister land. I sympathized, and slowly, slowly, said good night.
I know the ship will manage over the next few days to sail fine without me, but it's nice to know that as captain, I'm missed.