When I was in college, I had daydreams about having a job that would allow me to travel. “Frequent flyer” just sounded so fancy, so professional. I wanted to be both of those things. When I found my current job, I knew I’d have quarterly-ish trips to NYC. That worked for me! But as the past five years have progressed, I’ve bounced all over this country. It was always relatively easy to throw my things in a suitcase and fly away for a week – I didn’t like leaving Shelton of course but he understood.
Then I had Paisley. The first time I left her for a week-long work trip was right before she turned four months. It was brutal; one of the hardest things I’d ever done. I took a xanax for the fist time in my life because I couldn’t physically bring myself to set her down and leave. I think I’ve been gone 10 full weeks since then. I don’t love it, but I guess I also asked for it.
I used to think the trips would get easier because it would slowly become more familiar for all of us. If anything, it’s gone harder. When I’d leave when she was just a little bag of muscles, she didn’t know I was gone and, well, let’s face it – I wasn’t getting woken up at 3am. But now she does so much, she changes every day, and she’s very aware of my absence.
Shelton and I left at the beginning of September for a week in Portland to celebrate our 10th anniversary and simply just get away. We debated for weeks whether or not to take her because we knew she’d have a blast and we’d miss her. But ultimately, we decided to go without her. We were both so heartsick by the time we got home because seven days was just too much. When we picked her up after we landed, she ran in to my arms and burst into tears. Apparently she missed us too.
Well, I have to leave tomorrow, again for another week. I told her during a walk at the park that I have to go on the airplane and I’ll be home in a few days. Her reply was, “but you just got back to see me again.”
Talk about a world-class heartbreaking guilt machine.
It certainly doesn’t make up for my absence for either of us, but I’m hoping a little project I put together for her will at least ease the time away.
I put seven notes in seven envelopes, each labeled for the days of the week that I’m away. Each has a different note, wishing her a good morning, and a reminder that even when I’m far away I still love her, miss her, and am thinking of her. I hope she feels that.