One of the realizations I’ve had during my years of parenting is that many life experiences that before would have been identifiable by maybe one or two emotions are now quite the mixed bag. Much of this feeling confusion stems from the fact that things I previously enjoyed or got excited about occasionally don’t or can’t involve my two darling children, so my enjoyment and excitement are now almost always felt in conjunction with things like sadness, disappointment, guilt, and whatever word you’d use to describe the emotion of missing someone or someones like crazy. I’m fairly certain it was a parent that decided we’d use the word bittersweet to define more than just the sensation of dark chocolate as that word is the perfect encapsulation of what we feel whenever we embark on something awesome that leaves our babies behind for a bit.
Like work travel. I’m a plane right now headed to San Antonio for my second business trip of the year, which is already one more than I took last year as my position within the company is one that tends to be more successful when I’m in the office. That said, this year we’ve made an effort to spread the travel around a bit more and I volunteered to participate in a couple events. I did so because a) I wanted to contribute to an important part of what keeps Kalisher growing and b) because I wanted more experience out there in the world of hospitality design. That experience is fun, exciting and fascinating. It makes me feel more connected to my career and affords me the opportunity to meet folks I’d otherwise only know by a voice and an email address. It gives me time with colleagues that I value, it gives me a break from my typical routine, it earns me airline miles and it means I get to stay in a fairly fancy hotel room ALL BY MYSELF. Alone time? In a new place? Paid for by someone else? And I don’t have to clean or cook or do anything else required by the normalcy of life with a family and a house? Sounds splendid!! And then reality sets in. Days away from the people I love more than TV and trains and flowers and cement mixers and fruit snacks and trees and all the other things my kids like to list off when they play the “how much do I love mommy” game. Gahhh, that game! And days away means days of not experiencing that cuteness. Days without hugs and kisses and nuggles and tickles. Days of waking up and rolling over to see no Pete, just an empty bed. Days of exhausting, nonstop working and schmoozing and being on my best game in a way that’s entirely different than being on my parenting game, a way that requires an entirely different level of energy, and barely leaves space for how much I miss my life back home. You see? All the feels all over the damn place.
I’m not signed up for any additional work travel this year and I don’t intend to seek out more opportunities, so chances are that this is it. I know Pete is crossing his fingers that that holds true. Single dadding for multiple days in a row is no cakewalk, although it may involve cake, or possibly donuts, and definitely adventures, because Pete is super dad and never fails to make it fun. Which just adds to my emotional panoply because I want to be doing all that fun family stuff too. This trip is 100% worth it though because it’s in San Antonio and I’m heading in a day early to spend time with some people I don’t get to see nearly enough. Dad is picking me up at the airport and after taking a tour of his new house we’ll be walking down the street to spend time with my brother, sis-in-law and niece. I’m silly excited and tremendously grateful that my job is affording me this time with far away family. It’s going to be great, it’s going to fly by, and it’s going to send me home on Wednesday completely sapped but totally satisfied because it will have been a time and it will be over.