Last week I mentioned I'd be unavailable for a while. For security reasons, I didn't want to say where I was or why I was going away - you know, just to be on the safe side. Now that the trip is over I can give you the details.
For the first time (I can remember) since being a foster parent, I had to go on a business trip. Pre-kids I traveled much more than I do now. Even when Logan was young I had a job where I traveled more extensively (3-5 trips per year). Since then I haven't traveled much, both by function of my job and by necessity. Traveling just doesn't work well in our schedule.
Nevertheless I'm working on a project that is in its infancy stages and required us to get away as a project team to gel and get some initial project work done. We traveled to Austin, TX and stayed at rental vacation property on Lake Travis. We all live close enough to Austin that it meant we drove down there but far enough away to keep us from returning home every night. I ended up leaving Monday morning and returning Thursday afternoon.
When I initially heard about this trip I had a mini panic. Even though our new schedule provides more time for us all to be together as a family there are still major times when only mommy or only daddy are available to be there with the kids. Taking mie away from the family for 4 days is no small challenge and finding someone willing to help in the hours we needed, with 4 kids, meeting CPS requirements, on weekdays, was no easy task. When I used to travel when Logan was little I'd fly my mom in to spend a few days with us and she loved the chance to come out to visit - it was a win-win. Of course, my parents anniversary was right smack in the middle of my trip and I couldn't even ask for her to consider it, even if she would have said yes. So I tried to devise plan B, C, D, E, and F.
Wouldn't you know God knew all along that I'd need to go out for this trip. About 6 weeks earlier my husband had mentioned that he had to do some training for work which required him to change his schedule. Wouldn't you know that coincided exactly with what eventually turned into my trip. He was able to be home and we needed only minor help with the kiddos one morning and one evening that my sister happily provided. Logistics solved. Kids cared for. Mommy's free for a trip.
Only it wasn't that easy to leave. The logistics may have been handled but my mommy heart despised leaving. I was desperately worried about leaving my hubby in charge of all things household management while I was gone, not because he is incompetent but because I know how much work it can be. I hated dropping all that in his lap. I feared that no matter how much I thought through and documented what needed to happen while I was gone I would miss something critical and somehow miss providing the role my kids needed me to fill. I know how much work it is. I know how much has to be juggled. I know how difficult it is to make sure it all happens right (or close!). I just hated making my husband do all of that. Not to mention, he hadn't been alone with the kiddos for that long. Again, not that he couldn't handle it, but 4 kiddos is a lot of work and it's nice to have someone to tag team with when you need a quick break to refresh. He wouldn't have that while I was gone. I worried his patience would grow thin.
Then I worried about how my kids would be without me there. Would they miss me? Mommies and daddies are both important to kiddos, would there be something missing for them while I was gone? Would they get enough hugs and kisses? Get told enough how important they are and how much they are loved? Worse yet, we have a family used to loss. Foster children, especially at this age, can be sensitive to trips like this where someone goes away for a while. They may have a hard time understanding that mommy is coming back, but not like visits like their other om, they wouldn't be moving to a new home, mommy isn't leaving them. I worried how #9 would handle it. I worried how Summer would handle it. I knew Logan would be ok, but I worried he'd feel sad missing mie.
So when I left on the trip, though it provided mie with an opportunity to get away "for myself" for awhile I was sad and extremely anxious. As we drove toward Austin, all I could think about was jumping out of the car and running back to my family. (Lest you worry, I didn't seriously think about jumping out of the car, but you get my point). I wanted to be with them. Nothing else mattered. Not the adult social time. Not the extra rest. Not the career potential of the project. Nothing. I just wanted to be home.
And that was the first night.
To be continued...