In exactly two weeks, I will be setting foot on a cruise ship for a 4-day getaway for hubby's birthday. Just the two of us. On a cruise ship. Away. Really, really away.
We have not been "that gone" since Ben was about 18 months old. And we have not yet left Aidan for more than 2 days. So this will be a little different.
I never had an issue leaving Ben when he was little. My family used to joke that if we could, we'd do a Drive-By Baby Drop, as in: slow the car down enough to be able to toss Ben out the window into the waiting arms of my mom. (OK, admit it...it's kinda funny.) And even now, I have no trouble leaving both boys for our regular Babysitting Nights, during which we are gone for about 24 hours. But something seems to have shifted over the last few months, and every time I am going to be away from them for more than a night, I get apprehensive. I know what some of you are thinking...'Oh of course! You are going to miss them so much!' or 'Yes, you are apprehensive about not being with your babies!' Uh, no. Not really. I guess I do miss them...some...but to be honest, I know I'm going to see them again and Life As A Parent Of Two Small Children will resume soon enough, so...No, I would barely call that "missing them."
I think the apprehension comes from the loss of control. I can be pretty controlling (surprise, surprise) so giving up total control of my kids is tough. Because I wonder: "How are they doing?" And I worry: "What if one of them gets sick?" And I fret: "What if my 70-year-old mother with a bad back is getting overwhelmed?"
And now that we are officially 2 weeks away from vacation, I keep picturing Hubby and myself lounging on deck, tropical drinks in hand, calypso band playing...I keep picturing myself in my new adorable outfits that no longer scream "Postpartum Mom"...I keep picturing us dancing in the tacky touristy disco late at night...and I keep picturing one of the boys getting sick right before we leave. This has become my new Vacation Preoccupation. Every time one of those lovely vacationing images pops into mind, it is startled by a "What if..."
I have tried to push it out of my mind. I have tried not to think about it. I have tried not to talk about it. I have tried. And can't. So I have given up. And I refuse to believe that verbalizing what I'm worried about is going to make it happen. So...I fret out loud (and on this blog). And I "take precautions." I am hand sanitizing. I am wiping stuff down. I am staying away from any even slightly sick friends. And I have absolutely and completely forbidden any Chuck E. Cheese visits in the next 2 weeks.
I hate living like this. I hate being like this. It is not just about this vacation...it is the constant desire to ensure that everything goes as planned, that everything is just perfect, that nothing goes wrong. All about control. And of course, I know that my sense of control is really an illusion. I get it. We don't control anything. I understand it. I preach it to others. I believe it. But when push comes to shove, I can't do it.
Of course, I also understand that my worrying about stuff doesn't change anything. In fact, I am pretty darn suspicious that it makes things worse. You know, the whole...negative thoughts bring negativity...think positive...the mind/body connection...all that. (Not to mention that worrying this much will probably affect my immune system enough to actually make ME sick...even if the boys get off the hook.) And there is also that other tiny inconvenience: worrying like this just sucks the joy right out of the pre-trip days.
So...what can I do? I'll keep at it. I'll keep trying to learn from those around me who live in a near-constant state of calm and grace and optimism. Years ago, I had to come up with a mantra for a yoga class, something that was active and would simply remind me of what I "needed to do." The word surrender came to mind immediately. One word. How simple. How powerful. How difficult. For me anyway.