A Trip Without Kids

Tomorrow, I am going to pack a suitcase, get in my car, and abandon my family for the rest of their lives. I know they’ll cry and miss me, but that’s mainly because I am the only one who knows where the extra fruit snacks are hidden.

I’m actually just taking a solo trip to Ohio for 5 days, but it’s basically the same thing as child abandonment. I’ve only spent one whole day away from my children during their entire lives, partly because we live 2 1/2 hours from the nearest daycare and partly because I just don’t like to leave them. I have been on full-time mom duty since I delivered our first baby during a blizzard in 2012. I have been her primary caretaker ever since I carried her home from the hospital in my arms, leaning into the wind for 70 miles to shield her helpless, tiny body from the driving wind while I absorbed the brunt of the storm with my own face.

Not really, but that’s sometimes how it feels to be with your children 24/7, no weekends or holidays off, for over 5 years. The only time I get a break from the daily grind of childcare is when I am in the hospital delivering another one. That’s a blissful four-day break filled with meal deliveries, a nurse-call button, and friendly staff who will change a diaper if I’m just too darned tired.

But the staff always denies my request to check in for a month, and eventually I must return home to full-time diaper changing duty. My in-laws drove out from Colorado to take care of the kids during the daytime while I’m in Ohio and my husband is at work, so I’m off the hook for five whole days.

What will I do with myself for five days? I don’t know how to drive without turning around and asking a miniature human in the backseat “Did you poop or was that just a fart?” every half hour. I haven’t taken a shower without someone handing me a granola bar to open/yo-yo to wind up/sippy cup lid to replace in years. I haven’t slept through the night without being pummeled by the tiny feet and pointed elbows of at least one of my offspring in five years.

I think I could happily sleep for the entire five days. But I won’t, because I am going to the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. It’s held in Dayton, Ohio every two years with limited attendees. The lineup of presenters is fantastic, so I plan to stay awake and soak up as much as the humor-writing goodness as I can.

And then I will retire to my quiet hotel room, take a luxurious solo bath, and sleep soundly all night long in my very own king-sized bed for one.

I am already looking forward to returning home. My family is my muse, and just the thought of leaving them makes me anxious. But, I know they’ll be in good hands with my in-laws, eating lots of sugary snacks and drinking juice by the gallon. Hopefully they’ll be happy to see me as well, and I will have learned lots of great writing skills during our separation.

Or at least had a good nap.

But how am I going to survive without these two sweet faces for five days?!

No, seriously – somebody tell me, because I am unsure how to proceed. I’m sure it’s just last-minute anxiety, but I am equally looking forward to taking my trip and coming back home to these munchkins.

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