I’m a big girl now? All grown up at 39 years old… all because I finally made my way on my first girls getaway. Can you believe it’s only taken me this long to muster up the courage to leave my two girls and hubby, to take much needed time with my fav BFF. My girlfriend has only asked me every spring since we’ve had kids to escape on a weekend away, an overnight in Atlantic City, some time at the beach. All the time my mind saying it sounded great, which it did, but the little voice inside my head froze any and all decisions to leave my girls, kept me paralyzed in fear. BFF’s for 20 years now, we’ve traveled before kids, as couples and combined families, but never just us girls once my precious spawn entered the picture.
My youngest now 10, who tends to be sensitive with any anxiety involving worse case scenarios, has become rather verbal the last couple of years of her fears. Never one to get caught up in her panic, I knew that my part as her influential role model would be my most challenging performance of a lifetime. A what I call “Fake it till you make it” presentation that fooled even me. I can remember sitting on the couch with her watching yet another Oprah show, just the two of us listening intently as Oprah explained the nature of our fine Universe letting us all know, that no matter what happens… no matter how bad, no matter how awful… we’ll be okay. Big brown eyes traced in the longest of eyelashes fluttered their way up to mine with a questioning look from my daughter that non verbally asked… “Is this true?” This was something I knew. Words I had preached, but still a perfect reminder that even I needed to hear. Taking advantage of this ideal time and note to self…I decided to bring up my much needed vacation once again, leading me into another act with no rehearsed lines. My ad-lib allowed me to fumble un-poetic words into expressions of truth that I needed to say and hear for myself. “…. yes, this is a good thing, mommy going away. You see, mommies take time off and then they come back. It’s not a sad time. No goodbye’s, but merely a “see ya later”! There. I said it… and I meant it. For the first time, the reality was hitting me. I’m traveling away from my girls…. far, far, away… on an airplane, which by the way, I have not traveled by since 9/11. There were many fears that I needed to face on a whole new level, the control freak in me I needed to lay to rest. I guess you could say for selfish reasons, I needed to take this time for myself, and hey… I didn’t just decide to take a weekend at the beach….. no, I was going big. I was going far. I was….. Aruba bound! Selfish? Maybe. But selfish is a good thing. Selfish means we are getting what we want, happiness we desire and we become better mommies because of it, right? That’s what they keep telling me at least. Aruba definitely sounds enticing, but this kind of selfishness was work, I tell you! It wasn’t until this “break a leg” performance that I could actually say, “Yes. Yes. YESSSS!!!! An orgasmic – yes! My AhHa moment. I WAS going to have fun. This WAS a good thing… and I WAS actually getting excited over it. Progress.
From time to time both girls would bring up this sad moment in their eyes, as take off day was getting close. “Well, what if Daddy’s doesn’t make the sandwiches right?” Cute, huh? Can you see me grinning from ear to ear? Now if that doesn’t make a mom feel good. Ya just have to make a good sandwich! So that’s the secret!
I refused any tears that would get me started, days prior to leaving, but I couldn’t resist our “see ya later’s” the night before, as I was leaving long before their alarms would sound. Heart wrenching tears from all of us left me with under eye bags filled with as much salt as the ocean I would soon visit. “Let’s just get all the tears out now, ’cause by morning everything will be brighter and happier.” With a few leftover sniffs and the occasional dozing off, it was already time to wake. Keeping busy with last minute packing and brisk step in my walk from excitement, I was proud of myself to stay in the moment and forget any worries. That is until the car ride to my friends. The quivering of my lips like a sad child suffering from separation anxiety, overwhelmed my emotions and tears flooded once again. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me… sniff… sniff….. I’m just so emotional… sniff, honk, sniff. Hubby, a lover of sun, heat, beach and an all equipped Tikki bar, glances at me, with that look of wheels turning, as if he’s quietly weighing out the options in his head… okay, so you get to stay home, working, cooking, cleaning in the cold on one end – and then there’s sun, fun, warmth, beautiful sandy beaches and a much needed Margarita’s on the other end. What’s the prob.? Our 16 years of marriage and telepathic skills allowed me to hear this mind talk, but one look at sad ol’ me told hubby, to just grab my hand and say nothing. As I tried to control my tsunami of tears, hubby turned up the radio and in came the familiar tunes of Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow”. This was it. My sign that all would be okay, just like the Universe provides, my message came in strong and clear as the finely tuned radio station, from our dearly passed cousin. A cousin as close as a sister could be, who when we all went to the Fleetwood Mac reunion concert years ago. She at the time struggling with paralysis turned to me as this song rang through the concert walls of their finale, she smiled her vibrant smile and yelled through the crowd, “This is my favorite song. This is what I’ve been waiting for. This song keeps me going and to never stop thinking about tomorrow.” I knew I was going to be okay… we all were.
Lesson in selfishness…. check. Better mommy…. check. Fears conquered… check. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow…. constant.