I am sitting at a gate in Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) waiting for my flight back to Seattle. You may be wondering…”How does she have time to sit and write with two girls while she is at the airport?”
If my girls were with me, I definitely would NOT be writing.
I would be mulling this post over in my head while I watched them burn off steam running over and under seats before getting on the six hour flight back home. The beauty of this story is that I got the weekend off from mommy duty to travel east 3,000 miles to go to a wedding in New York City! I know, I mean, I really do know – LUCKY ME!!
Friday afternoon I left work early to catch my 3:05 PM flight from Seattle to EWR. I arrived at Sea-Tac airport (SEA) an hour before my flight, only to find out the flight was delayed two hours! I was so annoyed. My first reaction: “That means I won’t arrive until 1 AM! Man, am I going to be tired!”
My second reaction: “I should have checked flight status before I left the office or signed up for those flight alerts by email or text message. I could have gotten a little more work done.”
My third reaction:
“Wait, I’m by myself without kids. This might not be so bad. But, what AM I going to do for two hours?”
I decided to find a place to sit down, have a beer and start reading the book I picked up at the library (El sueño de América by Esmeralda Santiago). It was not until I sat down, took a sip of my beer and opened up my book that I realized….”Whoa, this is nice! I actually have some down time with no kids around! No one needs my undivided attention…or a diaper change.”
THAT is when I started to relax. By the time I got on the plane, I had had two Hefeweizens. Two beers + lack of sleep night before + no kids = UNINTERRUPTED NAP TIME! The flight was uneventful. By the time I landed, took the shuttle to my hotel, checked in, got ready for bed and leaned over the nightstand to turn off the light, the clock read 2:30 AM.
My alarm went off at 8:30 AM. I couldn’t believe it, an alarm woke me up – not a child! I took a private uninterrupted shower and peacefully did my hair and makeup while listening to some jazz music – music that I chose. (Not a children’s music CD selected by my oldest daughter.) I left the hotel around 9:45 AM to catch the train into mid-town Manhattan.
As I got off the subway in Herald Square, the skyscrapers and people hustling, the horns honking, and the smell of the city made memories of my time in New York City flood back.
I fondly remembered my trips into NYC with my brothers and my mom as children, but also the time spent there working after college. I was walking around with a smile on my face. It wasn’t until I walked past the Empire State Building that I realized I had not been in NYC since I left in 2002!
The wedding was beautiful, I caught up with some old friends at the reception. Before heading back to the hotel, I felt the need to go down and visit the World Trade Center. Especially since the 10th anniversary of 9/11 is coming up, and it had been nine years since I was last down there.
It was dusk by the time I got there, so sadly I didn’t get to see things in daylight. I stood at the waterfront and just enjoyed the view of the Statue of Liberty with a purplish, orangey sky setting behind her.
By the time I got back to my hotel it was around 9 PM. This morning I got to sleep in, take another long shower without anyone banging on the door wanting to go potty or saying, “Momma, I need to tell you something.” I even had the chance to meet up with my dad and baby brother for brunch, which was a lovely way to spend the day before the long flight back home.
The funny thing about this whole trip is that at the wedding reception I sat with two other couples my age who are also parents. We were eating cheese, drinking wine, and all of our conversations revolved around…our children! We shared pictures on our smart phones, shared stories about things that make us laugh about our kids, as well as how proud we were about their most recent milestones.
At one point all of the moms got up to call home and ‘check in’ on the kids. One of the dads got up and said,
“Wait, STOP! Thirty plus years ago there were no cell phones. Our parents would go out for the night, they would leave us with relatives, not call to ‘check in’ and we all turned out all right, didn’t we? Sit down and relax!”
I laughed out loud because he was so right!
In closing, cheers to my darling husband for playing Mr. Mom, taking care of our girls, and giving me the weekend off. Even though I spent more time in airports and on planes flying back and forth from coast to coast than I actually spent in NYC, the ‘me’ time was wonderful.
And by the time my family meets me at the airport back in Seattle tonight, I know I will feel re-energized and ready to step back into my mommy shoes. This trip reinforced that as exhausting as it can be to be a mom sometimes, it’s by far the best job I’ve ever had. I just have to remember to take some time for myself every once in a while.
What about you…have you ever had the chance to take “time off” from being a mom by going away? If so, where did you go and what did you do?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Eva Fannon. Eva can be found on Twitter @evafannon.