I re-wrote the title for this post about 20 times before settling on my original thought. Clearly, I don’t mean the first vacation without children (although, that’s exactly what the title states!) I traveled plenty prior to having children! Those days are VERY distant memories. And, if I’m being completely honest, I don’t remember them being anything more than amazing get-aways. I planned, I packed, I went, I enjoyed. Afterwords, I came home, did laundry, went back to work, and then started planning my next trip.
But today I’m talking about your first trip away from your kids. I have very distinct memories from my first time away from each of my babies. Of course, I’m not counting the times I left them for a few hours. I have NEVER been the mom reluctant to do that. I LOVED running errands or having a date with my husband sans baby. In those early baby days I appreciated every second with my child, but I really appreciated the time away too.
So I surprised everyone- even myself- when I was an absolute wreck before my first nights away. My daughter (firstborn) turned 1 just before I met up with my husband on the last leg of his business trip to celebrate our anniversary. Despite my excitement about laying by the pool, eating meals out and- most importantly- sleeping in, I couldn’t stop myself from worrying about my daughter.
I wrote out pages of notes for her caretaker. Seriously, PAGES of detailed descriptions about how every second of her day should go in my absence. I also printed out maps to all of the best hospitals in the area, notified her pediatrician that we’d be away, and left multiple copies of her insurance card. Lastly, and probably most insanely, I sent about 10 close friends an email including details of our wishes for Mary Grace should our return flight go down and kill us both. I KNOW. I’m crazy! (A side note: I begged my husband to book us on separate flights for that very reason. He would not oblige my insanity!)
Several years later I found myself needing to leave my son for the first time when he was only 4-months old to fly across the country. While I won’t say it was easy, I will admit to being slightly less crazy about the ordeal. I believe we only called home 5 times per day, compared to the 20 times we called the first time we left our daughter.
Fast forward through the years and it’s gotten much easier to leave my kids. Of course, I don’t love them any less (actually, I probably love them more!) But, it’s just easier. I recognize how much getting away re-charges me and helps me be a better parent. I enjoy traveling with my husband and not having to constantly be on kid-duty! Likewise, my kids love spending alone time with their grandparents. (Our primary caretakers when we travel away from the kids.) I’m a huge fan of taking at least 1-childless vacation a year!
How old were your children when you left them for the first time to go on a vacation?