Here I am in Chicago again. It is one year after my last Chicago trip, when I blogged about my first trip away from children in a year and a half and how life-changing it was and how every moment was spent soaking up alone time and time not spent taking care of anyone else. And it was that…life changing.
This year, I am not the same mother and my kids are not the same kids. Last year I got very clear on what I need to keep myself sane. With the support of my husband, I made more time for me and then I started working. My children are different too – they are another year older. Every mother should remind all other mothers that one year from now, their lives will be totally different: a message to both appreciate what is, now, and to not worry about xxx, because in a year, xxx will be different. Where we are, in terms of our relationship, and their needs from me, and my ability to give it – are so vastly different from just one year ago, I hardly recognize us. We are growing up as a family! We also just had a fantastic family vacation, spent mostly together as a family, but 8 days were alone with my husband …it is only a month after that trip and I was feeling very much in balance at home. When this trip came up, I really did not want to leave at all!
The reason we come to Chicago every year is for a trade-show one of my husband’s companies. My sister usually comes to help at the show and we have a great week catching up and hanging out in the windy city when we are not working. But her life has moved on too, and she just started a Masters program at age 47 (go girl!) and she was not able to come:(.
I think this is the first time in my mothering history, where I would have chosen just to stay home. It is not that I am not appreciating the time away. I sat in front of a mother and her child on my flight here and I savored my magazine and not having to read children’s books. I savored my ginger-ale and not not getting a drink because we would probably end up spilling it. And I really savored my ability to close my eyes and rest when I was tired instead of not getting a nap because my children decided they didn’t need one either.
So I will be sure to appreciate the week, the dinners (and not having to make any of them!), the shopping and even the working (this company does provide most of our income in a year, so it’s the least I can do!) on behalf of mothers everywhere. But a big part of my heart is back at home with my children, taking them to school, hanging out in the afternoons, putting them to bed. Last year this trip allowed me to pull all of me back together. This year, I feel I have left part of me at home.