I had everything set to go. The refrigerator was stocked, schedules written down to the minute, clothes laid out for each day that I was done. Leaving the kids for a week wasn’t going to be a big deal because the our routine was a well oiled machine. It could go on without me. My dad was taking over while I was away. He’d done it before and I showed him the ropes. There was no need to worry.
That was until I got a phone call at the wee hours of Saturday morning. Avery had been up all night throwing up. Not even 12 hours after I’d left, she got sick. And she wasn’t the only one down for the count, Harlan broke out in hives all over her body and they couldn’t figure out what was causing the reaction. It was official. All hell had broken loose.
One of the hardest things for me to deal with (both personally and as a mother) is to have little to no control when it comes to my children. As a mama who cares so deeply for my little ones, it hurt so bad that I couldn’t be there for them. Not that I could do anything different than my dad and MacKay could do, but I hated being so far away and not having any control. I was so helpless.
While I wanted to be fully present and enjoy my time away and have fun with friends, all that was occupying my mind was my sick kids. I was stressed. Not being with them only gave me anxiety and it was so debilitating. I’d call every hour to check on them, which didn’t make matters any better because both my dad and MacKay were trying to take care of the girls, while carefully keeping Macks away from them so that he didn’t get sick.
People often ask what it’s like for me when I go away on these work trips. Most of the time, my answer is that it’s like a vacation. I get some much needed time for myself, and because I love what I do and the people that I work with, it does often feel like I am on vacation. But it also tears me apart inside to leave my kids. It never gets easier. I thought as time went on and the kids got older and required less of my attention, that it would be less stressful for me to leave. But the truth is, as someone who dedicates the majority (if not all) of my hours to my kids, leaving them just makes things harder.
While I slowly got better as time went on throughout my trip, things at home just seemed to get worse. Har’s hives got worse, she also came down with the stomach bug. My dad, who was watching the kids during the day while MacKay was at work, also came down with the stomach bug. On Monday, while he and Harlan took turns throwing up, Avery and Macks stayed on the couch watching movies all day.
And there was nothing I could do.
That’s when I knew I just had to trust in my dad and in MacKay and know that they will not only take care of themselves, but also my children. There’s a reason I flew my dad up to take care of them while I was gone. I trust him with the kids. Through the good and even through the bad. He raised four kids of his own and he is perfect capable of taking care of my three little ones.
As much as my anxiety and stress was taking over, I couldn’t let that take away from the job that I was supposed to do while away. It’s difficult to stay out of things when it comes to the health and well-being of our children. As mothers, our instincts tell us to love them, comfort them, and take care of them no matter how many miles are between us. But sometimes that is not physically possible.
When that happens, we have to put our faith in others and in ourselves. And just let go.