After nearly a week of spring breaking, I had to leave my family in Tybee Island, Ga. and fly home because I teach at Northwestern and the university’s spring break doesn’t jibe with my kids’ spring break. It was one of those odd moments–leaving my family on vacation and flying home. I’m much more used to it the other way. So are they.

As usual, it didn’t really dawn on the kids until that morning that they would be driving home from Georgia without me. They barely miss a beat when I fly away and leave them at home. They’re used to that. But the idea of being in car for 15-plus hours with just Dad left them unnerved. No one to navigate unless one of them stepped up (although I did sit down with the Atlas and chart a course they could follow). No one to find the iPod that slid down behind the seat. No one to broker the peace when crabbiness broke out. No one to peel the oranges so they would eat something healthy (yes, my kids are teens, but they still hate to peel oranges, which means they’ll eat junk food until they puke).They did just fine, of course. But they were awfully glad to see me when they got home late that night. They spent the next two days telling me how much they missed me. I’m thinking I should leave them more often….