As the country opens up and embraces humanity again with open arms, it has been centering to see friends and family whom I haven’t seen in over a year now that I’m vaccinated.
I watch smiling faces cascade through my social media feeds as people I know hop on planes and travel across the United States. After spending over a year in the confines of our homes, I get it. We’re all ready to get out.
Hooray, I’m Away From My Kids!
While I haven’t followed the rest of the country to the airports just yet, it’s been nice to slowly emerge from my cocoon and venture out to do things locally. Most notably, I spent a weekend away from my husband and daughters. I drove to Santa Barbara and met up with two of my best friends from college. I’ve never laughed so hard, my cheeks sore from smiling, and I’ve never felt so at ease to be with friends who know me to my core. We ate at restaurants, ventured to the beach, and caught up on over 20 years of a friendship.
And you know what I ended up doing a majority of the time? Missing my kids.
Wait, Why Do I Miss Them So Much?
These are the same kids that drive me crazy every day. The same kids that I say I want a break from on a daily basis. The same kids that I sigh an epic sigh when they finally go to sleep at night.
Why is it when I’m finally gone, I missed my children so very much?
During the trip away, I found myself scrolling through old photos of my daughters, smiling at their sweet, little faces. I got extremely excited when my husband sent me photos of how they were doing while I was gone. (Turns out, they had a ton of fun.) And when I called to check in, their high voices sent tears to the corners of my eyes.
My daughters are four and six years old and are still in that loving, snuggling phase where they can do some activities independently, but rely on me for most things. I missed their hugs and cuddles. I missed hearing, “I love you mommy.” I missed the family unit I’ve built so very carefully.
Don’t get me wrong, it was simply spectacular to get away and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I just wasn’t expecting myself to be thinking about my daughters while sitting on the beach.
The Three Pandemic Musketeers
I wonder if a part of this attachment to my kids is because I’ve been essentially with them nonstop for a year and a half during this pandemic. It’s been just the three of us, one daughter attached to each of my hips. This time last summer, we were not involved in any summer camps. We had very little playdates. We hardly traveled and I certainly didn’t get a night away from them.
And so I got close with them. There were many hugs and probably an equal number of tears. We watched movies, we rode bikes, we hiked, we played with water in our backyard, filling up buckets and splashing them over each other.
I realized that my weekend in Santa Barbara was the first time I had been away from my daughters in a year and a half. While we’ve gotten to go places as a family, to be away from them is a rare thing as a stay-at-home mom during a pandemic. It is no wonder why I missed them.
But I’m so glad I did. I liked missing my kids. Because when I came back, the hugs were even longer, the kisses extra special, and my patience with them came roaring back.
Well, for a day at least.
I know I am fortunate to have such time away to become a human aside from motherhood again. So if you’re not traveling anywhere this summer, that is okay. Many of us took hard hits financially, socially, spiritually, and mentally over the past year. Don’t feel bad if you don’t—or simply can’t—travel to the places you dream of just yet.
Just know when you do, you’ll most likely spend a majority of the time missing your kids.