It’s 7AM on Mother’s Day, and I’m writing this from a Southwest flight somewhere over…Colorado, I think. I was originally scheduled to fly home from St. Louis this afternoon, but yesterday morning I was on set and called my kids to FaceTime with them, and that one call ended up changing my plans. I hadn’t seen their faces in a couple of days because I couldn’t get my FaceTime to work (discovery: restarting one’s phone more than once a year is apparently a good idea) – and when they finally popped up on my phone screen my heart started pounding and I started feeling like I might cry (which is not a thing I want to do on a set, ever). When we hung up, I went straight to my computer and started hunting for a flight – any flight – that might get me home even an hour or two earlier.
The first time I traveled for work after my son was born was when he was about seven months old; I was working with Art.com, and had to fly from New York to San Francisco to spend a few days with the team out there. I remember absolutely agonizing over whether or not to go on the trip, mostly because I didn’t know whether it was even societally acceptable for a mother to leave her baby on the other side of the country while she pursued career opportunities (see: Anxiety Over Parenting On the Internet). Of course I ended up realizing that there are few things better than (short, or at least short-ish) business trips when you are a parent of young children, mostly because of room service wine delivery and the fact that you get a couple of nights of uninterrupted sleep in a seriously good bed. And when you get home you realize that your children have gotten some special time with other special people in their lives. They’ve missed you, but they’re fine, and life goes back to normal.
In the years since, whenever my managers have called me with a project that requires me to spend a couple of days traveling somewhere or another, I’ve been totally up for it. These last few days were hard, though. Partially because of the fact that this shoot in Missouri unexpectedly piggybacked off of a separate trip to New York, which meant that I was away from home (apart from a single-night stopover) for a whole two weeks – and that’s the longest I’ve been away from Indy since he was born. And it’s not over; I’m scheduled to be on the road a few more times at least through August.
I’m not very good at this traveling-parent thing yet. I FaceTime too little, or too late at night, when I’m too tired. I forget to buy my kids souvenirs until two seconds before boarding, and end up spending twenty dollars on keychains with blinky-lights. I’m excited about the next few months – they’re going to contain some brand-new experiences for me, at the very least – but I’m also aware that it’s going to be a big learning experience for us, figuring out how to add me being away for a few days at least once a month to this whole (already massively challenging) work-life balance thing.
I’m pretty sure I’ll figure it out as I go, but still: I miss them so much.
I’m only a couple of hours from home now, on a flight I boarded at 3AM California time. I’m in tears, either because I’m exhausted from the whole crack-of-dawn thing and done with hauling bags through airports, or because I’m a little panicky about getting to see my babies again (have they grown a foot and gotten advanced degrees while I’ve been away? Taken up new hobbies? Sprouted new features?). I want to be there with them already. Especially because Kendrick just emailed me to let me know what’s waiting for me on the other side of this plane: call-ahead seating at Outback Steakhouse, watered plants, a special card from Indy, and a made bed with a glass of wine and a book next to it. And my kids. My kids.
So, okay. I may not be doing this very well yet, and I may be crying right now, but still, there’s something I know for sure: as a very wise man once said, every little thing’s gonna be all right.
ups and downs and <3 no matter what. #parenting #mothersday #reallife
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