I got my passport in 1997 as I was headed off to study abroad in France. I was 20 years old at the time and like all 20-year-olds throughout the world, of course I knew everything. I was unflappable. Too cool for school. With the characteristic hauteur of youth, I planned my trip to France, packed my bags and said my goodbyes like I had been traveling for years. To nobody’s surprise but my own, I’m sure, my calm detachment only lasted until I boarded the plane. I remember buckling my seat belt out on the tarmac and heaving massive sobs as I tried to focus on my Let’s Go: Europe guide through desperate, wet, crocodile tears.
I didn’t admit it to myself of course, but I was scared. Scared of being alone in an unfamiliar culture without my family. I was going to miss them. I did miss them.
Well, here I am, 15 years later, with a passport full of stamps from countries all around the world. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to many remote and exotic destinations, spending months on the road at a time. I consider myself to be a seasoned traveler. But I fear that again I’ve made an arrogantly presumptuous decision like the naive 20-year-old I was when I first got my passport.
We are going out of town. We’re traveling to Guatemala and leaving the kids at home. This seemed like such a wonderful idea. Warming up our bones and reconnecting as a couple on the shores of Lake Atitlan. Strolling through markets and picking out colorful, hand-crafted toys to bring home to our girls. I could just picture us! What I failed to envisage is feeling my heart creeping ever closer to my throat as our departure date grows nearer. The turmoil in my stomach when I think of kissing them one last time on the doorstep of Grandma and Grandpa’s house. What was I thinking planning a trip for ten days?!
I am still learning my way as a new mom and these emotions are as foreign to me as the indigenous cultures of Guatemala. To help ease some of my feelings of fear and motherly guilt, I took a page out of my own mom’s playbook. When we were kids and my parents were on vacation, she wrote individual notes for my brother and I to open each day they were gone. It was kind of like a special present for us every morning making us feel loved even in her absence.
Taking my mom’s lead, I created these little notes for my girls and I even incorporated a special homage to my dad as well. My dad, like myself, is a very sentimental person and his taste in music, like mine, can often be a little sappy. When I was little and he had to leave on a business trip, we would sing John Denver’s Leaving on a Jet Plane. It helped me work through the sadness of seeing him go. Well, kind of…I’m getting choked up just remembering it. Man, this is an emotional post for me.
I created this graphic using John Denver’s lyrics and incorporated it into little notes for my girls to open up each day of our vacation. I wrote out special details about the places we are visiting, words in Spanish, notes on the food and culture of Guatemala and lots and lots of ‘I love you’s.
I used this as an opportunity to create my first printable! If you guys have a trip coming up and want to adopt my mom’s vacation note idea, feel free to download my design. I would be so excited if you did! Just click on the link below.
My girls are not even two years old, so clearly, these vacation notes are more for my benefit than theirs. Like singing Leaving on a Jet Plane with my dad, writing out these notes (twenty of them in all!), has helped me work through the emotions I am feeling as I leave my girls for the first time.
Again, as it turns out, I’m not as composed and aloof as I thought I was.
But in a way, I’m glad. I’m not sure I want to be haughtily detached when it comes to my kids. No, I definitely don’t want to be. I’ve often thought about the significance of signing the bottom of a letter with “Love, Mom”. What a milestone it is. The adoption of a new identity. I have two names now, Briana and Mom. In embracing it, I will certainly have to shed my ‘too cool for school’ demeanor. (It’s a fact – moms are uncool). But for the first time in my life, I DON’T CARE! I don’t care. I’m uncool and I don’t care. I. Don’t. Care. !!!
You know what? I’m really proud of this post so I’m going to link up with these lovely sites below. If you’ve found me through a link up party, then welcome!Pin It