When Greg first learned a couple of months ago that he would be going back to London this year to work out of Lockton’s London office, my mind started turning over the possibilities. He went over in May of last year for ten days or so to assist as they moved their office to a new building. Unfortunately, my bar review classes were just ramping up here and I couldn’t afford the trip, both in money and time. My international travels thus far extend only to Mexico and Canada, so I relished the thought of an opportunity to make the trip overseas.
As time ticked by and the details were very slowly getting nailed down, potential dates for the trip floated around. When they finally landed on a timeframe, the guilt began to creep in. Greg would be gone August 13th through the 27th, missing the girls’ first day of school, back-to-school night, and Madison’t first club soccer game. Ouch! But Greg and I have always been on the same page about this. When an opportunity to travel abroad presents itself…you take it. So, with that outlook, he booked his tickets and we just tried to push the guilt out of our consciousness.
Forging ahead, buoyed by the excitement that only international travel for two with no kids can provide, we decided that I would go too. Despite the timing and through the generous gift of a good friend, James (Emily’s Dad…long story for another post), I was able to secure a flight using his points, traveling over on the 17th and coming home on the 23rd. As a result, I would be missing the girls’ first full day of school and Madison’s first competitive soccer tournament. Double ouch!
But, but, but…kids are resilient, right? They’ll survive this and years from now they’ll never remember it. At least that is what we told ourselves.
In fact, save a few days away for a trip to Vegas with Greg and working a few short-term legal projects I had been with these kids every stinkin’ day this summer. Granted, we had lots of fun but I am not going to lie and tell you it was ALL fun. I’d had my fill of them and I am pretty darn sure they’d had their fill of me, too. And by the end, as the beginning of school approached, I’m not sure who was more excited for the break – me or the kids. And it was that curious feeling – you know, the one where you absolutely adore them and detest them at the same time – that prompted me to book that flight during such a critical time in their young lives. As soon as I did and the day drew nearer, though, that guilt thing started to occupy more real estate in my conscience.
But I couldn’t cancel my trip, of course, so I went, did a lot of cool things, saw a lot of cool places, ate wonderful meals, had a fabulous time with my husband, and didn’t want to come home. The end.
No, seriously. It did end up just fine in the end. And I DID have a fabulous time. And, yes, well, if I had to admit it I didn’t really want to come home. But here is what happened while we were gone:
1.) Madison, wracked with grief over the absence of both parents, proceeded to manipulate her teacher into calling us for the first few days. Um, yeah, so she could add things to the list of trinkets she wanted us to bring back for her. Faker!
2.) That same kid had a complete meltdown in front of everyone when the Principal came in and announced to her class that they were getting a new second grade teacher and some of the kids would be moving to the new class. She didn’t get moved. Score: Madison-1, Principal-0.
3.) Quincy lost a tooth. Well, at this age, and given that we have twins at this age, it seems like that happens every day around here so what’s one more tooth, right?
4.) I didn’t get all of that crazy amount of beginning-of-the-year-paperwork done before wheels up so Cameron missed out on getting a little bracelet from her teacher for turning in her paperwork early. Sorry, Cameron! Though, I am getting ready to take off the sofa cushions and there is no telling what golden goodies I will find trapped down there. Surely that’ll make up for it. They’ll be new to her, right?
5.) Some kid wrote “slut” on Emily’s nametag on her desk at school. And, actually, if I’d have been here for that I would have hunted him/her down and beaten the snot out of them and ended up in jail. So, yeah, that’s a good thing.
Needless to say, I think they will survive this experience without much scarring. Greg and I, on the other hand, were transformed. I think it is safe to say that we came out of this experience more in love and connected than ever before. (I know, VOMIT!) Regardless, look for a post on that later this week, as well as other posts about my trip to London.
I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to thank everyone who made this trip possible for me including Lockton (for sending my husband over there and giving him the opportunity), my in-laws Ann and Bruce Chopp (for lovingly caring for our girls, home and dogs while we were away), to James (who selflessly gave me his points to fly), and to all of our friends who “stood in” for us at school and watched over the girls in our absence, and who encouraged me to go even when the guilt was weighing on me.