I’m going to New York next week. For 24 hours. All by myself.
This may not seem like a very big deal to many of you, but it’s got me a little anxious. You see, I haven’t ever been away from my baby (now a toddler!) overnight, and I’ve only been separated from my big girl when her little sister was born, and when I took the baby to California to visit my Mother in the ICU, over a year ago. During both trips, I had so many other things to be worried about that I didn’t have time to stress about being away from my first born.
This trip is different. I’m not traveling because I’m having a baby, and I’m not going because of a family crisis. I’m going to visit the Kveller offices, and I’m going to the JCC in Manhattan to hear our Editor Debbie Kolben interview Mayim Bialik about her new book. It’s a little bit of work, a little bit of pleasure, and while I’m thrilled, this trip is also keeping me up at night. (Literally. I had a dream last night that I got in a fight with James Franco over a seat at the JCC, and then Mayim got on stage and did an interpretive dance about attachment parenting. As soon as the show was over, I realized I had lost my cell phone, and in the process of trying to find it, I found myself surrounded by families with three children, all of them asking me when we’re going to have our third. Oy.)
I’m not sure what’s behind the anxiety dreams. It’s not that I’m at all concerned about leaving the girls with my husband—he’s an amazing father, and I don’t for one second doubt that they’ll have a great time. It’s not like I’m an unseasoned traveler, either. I’ve wandered the streets of London and Madrid alone; I’ve driven from California to Massachusetts by myself on more than one occasion, spending the night in the back of my truck in the middle of Utah and Virginia and everywhere in between. I’ve been visiting my family in Manhattan since I was a baby, and yet somehow the prospect of taking the train from Boston to New York for an overnight stay has got me in a bit of a tizzy.
As one of my Mama friends likes to remind me, the world becomes a whole lot scarier once you have kids. Maybe that’s it, or maybe it’s because the girls and I have been so connected since they were born that I can’t imagine a day without diaper changes and French braids and baby dolls and meal-time negotiations and bedtime stories and goodnight kisses. This trip, as brief as it is, will be a major change to our routine.
Yet perhaps a change of routine is precisely what I need. I can’t wait to travel without a diaper bag, without diapers or wipes or smooshed boxes of raisins or extra Dora underwear. I’m going to ditch my yoga pants, put on a real outfit, and wander the streets of New York City unencumbered by a stroller. I’m going to sleep in a hotel and order room service that isn’t macaroni and cheese and I’m going to watch a movie that doesn’t have a single dancing mouse in sight. I’m so excited.
But I will miss my girls, and my husband. I’ll feel a bit unmoored, a bit disconnected. I’ll see other parents with their children, and wish mine were with me. I’ll see princess toys in the store windows, and think about how much my daughters would love them. I’ll show their pictures to everyone at Kveller, and I’ll sit on the train to Boston hoping to get home in time to tuck them in. It’s only 24 hours, but it’s a big 24 hours. I know it will be good for me, and good for them, too. I also know I’ll have fun, but don’t be surprised if I come home with just a few Hello Kitty trinkets in my bag.