It finally happened. After 2.5 years, I left my kids to go on a short trip with my husband. It was divine! Glorious! Relaxing!
And I felt guilty.
Up until May, I had never spent even one night away from my twins. Not one. But the time had come for mom and dad to get away and recharge our batteries. We aren’t spring chickens anymore, you know.
In April, my husband told me about a work trip he was scheduling in Montreal. It would be from Monday night until Thursday night. Three whole nights of uninterrupted sleep. Two whole days of grown-up meals and restaurant visits that didn’t end in one of us cleaning the floor. I was excited.
And I felt guilty.
I planned my alone time (wah-hoo!) carefully. I wanted to do some window shopping and practice my photography hobby that has been sorely neglected. I wanted to take long, hot showers just because I could. And most of all, I wanted to just kick back without a schedule, without structure and just be.
Without feeling guilty.
When the day came for us to leave, I spent the last hour snuggled on the couch uncharacteristically letting the kids watch back-to-back episodes of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, just so I could hold them. At T-minus 30 minutes to departure, I was starting to blink back tears. What were they going to learn while I was gone? What if they missed me too much? My daughter is very attached to me. What if she doesn’t do well?
And then I felt really guilty.
When the time came to leave the kids in the hands of our wonderful nanny, I kissed and hugged them until they got annoyed with me and I cried all the way to the car. They, however, were in their own little world, which was great. No tears from them. I decided I had to get it together. I didn’t want the TSA thinking my husband was putting me on a plane against my will. So I put on some music that didn’t involve wheels on the bus or weasels popping, sat back, and enjoyed the ride.
And tried not to feel guilty.
Once we were there, I remembered how much I love traveling and enjoyed myself thoroughly. We had a fantastic dinner at a posh restaurant, saw the sights at night and during the day and, you guys, I even took a nap and relaxed in a hot tub! I was like a kid in a candy store.
And I tried not to feel guilty for not feeling guilty.
The kids did great while we were gone. Our fabulous nanny stayed with them and they did art projects, went to the park, and even met nanny’s dog. Our son really didn’t care where we were. As long as he had food, his bed and his trucks, all was well. Our daughter had a little rougher go of it. The first night, she had a tough time going to sleep, but after that she was fine. She asked about us a lot, but was satisfied with knowing that we would come back. All in all, it was good for us as adults to have some time together. We are better parents for it.
And I finally don’t feel guilty.
– Rebecca Calappi, Publications Coordinator at Beaumont Health System and adoptive parent of multiples