I’m leaving tomorrow for Idaho to visit my family. I’m mostly going to visit with my father who is in the hospital with an infection. Because of the infection, I am not bringing the babies with me.
This will be our first time apart since their birth. I am simultaneously grief-stricken and elated.
I will be gone approximately 52 hours. The babies will be with their father and grandparents. Still, I’m just on the verge of a panic attack. How will they know to do ALL THE THINGS that I do, the way I do, day and night, every single day?
Bottom line. They won’t. And yet the babies will be fine. I’m like 99 percent sure of that.
Lest you think I’m getting off easy, I’m taking the threenager with me. Flight-wise I think we’re good because we now have sustained iPad attention. And honestly I’m thrilled to have even a couple of days to get to concentrate on my first born without always having the babies’ needs to attend to as well. I miss hanging out with him, even if he is kind of a brat these days.
Negotiating the logistics of this trip has really brought home to me the difficulty of having both very young children and aging parents. Both require a certain amount of flexibility, spontaneity, and a great deal of emotional investment. If one needs you you cannot necessarily go to them because the others need you too.
There’s never been a time before in my life when I felt I couldn’t just drop everything and go to take care of my family. The week before I started law school, I drove to Oregon to be with my mother while her mother died and then turned around and flew to Idaho days later to be with my father while his father died. I didn’t question whether I had the time or the resources to do these things, I just went; because they needed me.
But my family is so much different now. We live in different places and we have such different needs. And while I am still my father’s daughter, I am also a mother of three small children who need me very much every day.
So I cannot drop everything to fly to Idaho at a moments notice, but I can plan a trip weeks in advance to get away, no babies, told my father’s hand, for a few days at least.