When you go out of town for a conference, there are certain things you have to do before you leave. One of them is saying goodbye to your children. Your sweet, sleepy-eyed children who are standing on the edge of your mini van as you wheel your luggage towards the automatic airport doors, where O’Hare will swallow you up and send you far, far away from them.
If you’re like me, maybe you will stand in the long ticketing line watching your kids pile back into your mini van and you will see your husband strapping them into their car seats. Your eyes will fill with tears that you beat back, but when you realize that you can’t you will grab your wheelie suitcase and rush back out through the doors. “Mommy wants one more kiss! Mommy wants one more kiss!” You scream to your children who had forgotten all about you, but now you’ve riled them up.
Your two-year old starts whimpering, “I don’t want you to go.” So you start crying. For real. Your three-year old is less depressed, but that makes you cry too. These smushy perfect little people, they better be just the same when you get back.
Don’t change. Don’t get hurt. Don’t forget me.
“It’s time you go,” your husband says.
Shit, he’s right. You grab the one more hug and one more kiss from each and go back through the door, this time, you’re ready. Ready to stand in the security line and bawl because you’ve never done this before and you’re scared something will happen to them. To you. Something bad.
If you’re lucky, you can dial up your early rising friends and tell them how sad you are that your minivan full of your heart is pulling away and you are going off in the other direction. Without them.
How can this be right?
Your friend Mary might tell you wonderful things you don’t believe, but you wish you did. Stuff like “when you walk directly toward your vision everyone benefits. Especially your children.” She will say that and you will let those fucking tears fall because no one in the U.S. Airways security line is paying any attention to you. They want their coffee and they want their own kids to behave on their upcoming flight to Philly.
When you finally get in your seat, you will hold your book in your hands and you will close your eyes and say to yourself:
What the hell am I doing? Damn, I’m brave.