When I first contemplated taking a five-day-trip away from my family, I was about 99 percent sure it was out of the question. To start, I had never really travelled alone, so that would be a new experience. Secondly, the thought of being away from my daughter (OK, and my husband Scott) for five days seemed like an impossible mission. When I told Scott about the opportunity that I was going to pass up, he called me crazy. “Go!” he said. “We will be fine without you.” That, I knew. But would I be fine without them?
I made the decision to venture out on my own. Leading up to my departure date, I felt bad for Scott. Not because he wouldn’t be travelling with me, but because of the offers to help with Eleanor that came pouring in. Friends and family said they would cook meals, babysit or anything else he needed. Slightly insulted, he politely declined offers.
I wasn’t worried about him and Eleanor being alone for five days. As my sister so sensitively put it: “Um, doesn’t Scott do about 80 percent of the parenting anyway?” While that is not completely accurate, I am lucky enough to have a husband that drops Eleanor at daycare and picks her up everyday. Then he gets dinner going before I am home for work. He would be more than fine single-parenting for less than a week.
With a carry-on only (I was very proud of that), I bid farewell to my little family and headed for the airport (thanks for the ride at 4 am, Dad). I was nervous (but very excited) and I felt like I missed them already.
I arrived safely in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. Ocean Club West would be my home away from home for five days. As I entered the suite in the resort, my mind was blown away. It was a two-bedroom, three-bathroom condo-like space, with a full kitchen, washer/dryer, spacious living room and dining area, and massive balcony. I felt little in such large quarters. It was quiet. How could I possibly make it through five days of such solitude?
That evening, I FaceTimed Scott and Eleanor on my iPad…and cried. I kept thinking how much fun it would be to have them with me. I’d like to say that I kept my mind focused on them during my whole trip, but after that burst of emotion, I basically forgot I even had a family.
The next few days were filled with white sand, sunshine, snorkeling, biking, kayaking, sailing, eating, drinking, and pure relaxation. I found a hammock that became my best friend. I rediscovered my love for rum punch. I ignored the novel and book of essays I brought with me and read the feature on Channing Tatum in Vanity Fair….twice. I realized that my large suite was the perfect size for me and I enjoyed the silence. REALLY enjoyed it. A daily check-in through FaceTime was the only contact with my family, and that was just enough.
My trip flew by and before I knew it, I was on my way home. I felt just as excited as when I left. I couldn’t wait to see Eleanor at the airport and her reaction to my return (I heard that she had been asking about me quite a bit). As I waited in the terminal, I heard a little voice yell out, “Mommy!” I turned to see my daughter scrambling out of Scott’s arms.
She ran to me, holding up her sign that said “Mom”. I hugged her tight and picked her up. “How are you?!” I asked. At that moment, a couple walked by with rolling suitcases. Eleanor pointed her little finger at them. “Ooooohhhh,” she said with amazement. I had lost her. Maybe she didn’t miss me as much as I had hoped. But I sure missed her.