I am (nearly) packed and ready to go. My big “vacation” is set to begin in about 17 hours, I will be away from my home and family for 3 days.
I am freaking out!
Oh, I’m over the angst of leaving my kids. That didn’t really last as long as I feel it should have but that’s a whole other story. The past two days I have been more concerned with the fact that when I go away I will be completely on my own!
I have never been anywhere on my own, away somewhere without someone else to lean on for directions, dinner choices, accommodation picks. The closest I’ve come to being in this situation was when my sister and I took off on a lark and went to Graceland. It did not go spectacularly well…
Little Sis has a birthday at the beginning of December, one year she suggests that I go with her to Graceland for her birthday. Between the day she suggested the trip and the following week when we actually left I think my husband asked me once a day if I was actually going to go. He really didn’t think that I would! (He knew me so well, even back then!)
From our house it’s about a three-hour drive to cross the border at Detroit, we didn’t leave until mid-morning so hit the border just after lunch hoping that the guards wouldn’t be hungry and, therefore, irritable.
We were wrong.
Literally. It was my Worst. Border. Crossing. Experience. Ever.
To this day (probably ten years later) I still get the jitters when I have to deal with border guards. I cannot approach an international line without nearly wetting my pants with nerves! (No, I do not have a criminal record, nor am I an habitual smuggler so I really have no need to be nervous.)
This guy literally grilled us. He was like Gibbs trying to get a confession out of a suspect! (Like how I interjected my love of NCIS? ) He wanted to know where we were going (Graceland), why we were going (did you not hear me say Graceland?), how long we were staying (couple days), why we were only staying a couple of days (how long does it take to see Graceland?), he wanted to know where we lived, where we were born, what we ate for breakfast, how brown our poop was… It was ridiculous!
Finally, after he granted us the supreme honour of being allowed into the United States of America I was shaking so hard that I needed to pull over, however, at the time, most of the streets of Detroit around the border were under construction and it would have been hard enough to find our way if I hadn’t been in tears and about ready to pass out.
The next day found us in Memphis where we managed to visit Arkansas on our way from the hotel to Beale Street. Obviously a testament to my supreme leadership skills! I also managed to nearly get arrested at a gas station as we were leaving to come home. (I had never been to a pay-before-you-pump place. They thought I was trying to steal petrol.)
My sister will say that we were both adults and capable of looking after ourselves on that trip but when you’re a big sister you know that the young ones are always your responsibility. That doesn’t change even when they’re grown with children of their own!
Every other trip that I’ve taken has been with my parents or husband and everything has gone smoothly. (Except for my honeymoon where the border guard offered me a strip search or a passport stamp, I was in a terrible state until I realized that he was joking!) Even our trips to the cottage when Daddy works for half the day end up with the boys getting sick with various colds, flu and infections.
All this leads me to believe that I am not meant to be in charge when away from home. This fact has never been scientifically proven (although I’m sure that it would be a fascinating study!) but the evidence is strong enough for me that I don’t vacation often, and certainly never alone!
One of the lovely ladies that I’ll meet this weekend told us that even though it feels like a vacation being away from our families and surrounded by women ready to let loose, we must always remember that it’s technically a business conference and we need to remember that.
I think maybe I can concentrate on the business aspect of my impending voyage and therefore face the daunting task of driving nearly 50 miles, meeting 400 new faces and learning a million new things in the space of three days. (Well…that, and the fact that most people seem to bring a couple of bottles of wine with them!)
At this point it’s too late to let my nerves get the best of me. I’ve prepared the household to survive without me as best I can (and really, it’s not like I’ll be in Zimbabwe! It’s a social media conference, I’ll have my phone in my hand the entire time!) and I’m preparing myself to be without them.
It’s ridiculous how easy it is to worry about leaving the boys with clean clothes, proper lunch stuff for school and access to their favourite jammies instead of focusing on the empty-except-for-me bed, the no-Lego-to-trip-on floor, the nobody-to-need-something-just-as-I-sit-down bathroom and the no-access-to-Disney-Junior television!
Now that I think about it a little, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be fine. After all, the conference has people whose primary job is to take us newbies by the hand and lead us to wherever we need to go! Now, I just have to make sure that I don’t get lost on my way to Mississauga and end up in Arkansas….