Everyone needs a break and some time away from home once in a while, so why is it so hard for me to take my own advice?
I am the first to assure friends that THEY need and deserve to get away from their children — that time away is good for everybody. So why was I having such a hard time making plans for one night away for a short business trip? Two weeks before the trip, I found myself planning how to spend the most time with my children until then, as if a day and a half away would rock their worlds (and mine).
I suppose when you figure in all my regularly scheduled time away (yoga, working two days a week, running errands) plus the time I would actually be away traveling, it does add up. So, a decision: Do I give up my precious yoga class the morning before I leave, or can I go and still feel like I am spending enough time with my kids before the trip?
An even harder question is what time should I leave? If I take a 2:25 p.m. flight, I will arrive at 5:30, which translates into an arrival time (after hotel check-in and a taxi ride) of 7:00. I will have time to relax, eat dinner and maybe even walk around the attached indoor mall. However, there is also a flight leaving at 4:00, which gets me in at 8:15, which translates into a 10:00 true arrival time. No dinner. No relaxation. No walk. But I will have two extra hours at home with my kids. What to do?
I had a firm talk with myself and chose the earlier flight. Exhale. As a safety precaution, and to alleviate any lingering guilt, I suggested my youngest child take me to the airport. He loves going to the airport and he was so excited! We got to watch the planes and run around. I did not plan, however, for the tearful farewell. It had not dawned on me that it might be SAD for my little guy to watch me board a plane without him. Duh. Traumatic. Guilt returned.
My time away and alone was short but I was able to enjoy it. I even walked around the indoor mall. I felt refreshed and quite grown up the next day. It was nice while it lasted: The nightmare was about to unfold. Due to a sudden crackdown in national security related to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, many flights into New York were abruptly canceled. Luckily for me — I smugly thought — I was flying into a small airport in Westchester County; my flight was still confirmed.
But I arrived at the airport to find that my flight was indeed canceled and all later flights were questionable due to bad weather – which meant hotel rooms would not be free. In addition, if I were to stay over that night, the odds of snagging a flight the next day were poor because spring break travelers would then be descending on the airports. No matter. I was NOT staying. I hopped from airline to airline, and the conclusion of the story is that I arrived home at 3:00 a.m. from my short, enjoyable time-away-trip.