I was away the past few days at an event - to be discussed at another time, although I did mention it on my Twitter and Facebook a bit - but the actual event is not what I want to discuss.
I want to discuss going away and coming back.
I love to go away. I will never make a secret of that. I love to see new places and meet new people, learn all about things that aren't in my daily life and add so much color and flavor and character. That travel that I love so much, though - it's stressful. It's a ridiculous drain on my brain to leave, because I am, like it or not, the person who handles 99.997% of what happens in the house and to the inhabitants of said house, and so when that vital person leaves - well, that vital person better make a strong contingency plan.
And I do. I write a large index card (5x7? 6x8? Whatever size that card is, I'm so knowledgeable) for each day, detailing medications, before school classes, after school tutoring, rides, meals, responsibilities, bedtimes, chores, etc.
You know, making notes and covering bases, as one does.
And then I pack too many clothes and too much gear and forget my face wash - for real, I have traveled more than once and yet I ALWAYS forget something vital and remember to bring 3 pair of pants and a skirt and two pairs of shoes for two days (true story) and I get into that metal tube and jet myself across the country
where I go and meet some really, really super cool people who I then force to friend me on Facebook so that I can keep up with their fantastic selves and super cool lives in the baseless, formless, gray of my daily life
and I eat pizza and drink an Old Fashioned at 11:30 pm, when my home bedtime is 9 pm, and I walk barefoot through Chicago on the way back from a party because my feet hurt and I would have been shot rather than wear those shoes one.more.minute
and I sit in a hot tub with people I've never met before and sit (clothed) in a bathtub while eating a McDonald's cheeseburger - which is a food (not really) that I can't stand (true, yo) and stay up talking for hours and hours and debating and eat way more junk food in two days than I eat in a week usually and learn things I've never even imagined about cars and pigs and frozen dinners and vegetable juice and the United Nations and canned soup and vaccine safety and more cars and I eat fancy foods not prepared by me and served by formally dressed waiters and my room is cleaned and my bathroom tidied daily by staff I never see
and then I return to my life, which is not exciting and does not feature fun at weird hours and exposure to unusual or non traditional things but arguing - not mine - does have a featured role, as does mounds of food preparation and laundry and stars lots and lots of people talking excitedly to me all at the same time and hosts increasingly strident levels of urgency and angst and I'm suddenly solving a land war in Asia - or the literal equivalent thereof in the bathroom needs of four girls and two boys - and waking at 5 to pack nutritious, healthy lunches that do not feature sandwiches and are balanced appropriately and enticing enough to be eaten and reminding, once again, that homework and medication and showers are very much necessities of life
and this life, it has those same people texting and calling me multiple times a day to tell me about the mundane victories they've had in their lives at the bookstore or classroom, asking what's for dinner or letting me know that the leotard needed for ballet class tonight is missing and by the way, when you go to the grocery store, can you please buy my favorite cereal?
and yet, when I had the opportunity to fly home a full 5 hours early - I gladly took it. And I came home early to all of those things, and my heart was full and glad and my patience was restored (briefly) and I have new Facebook friends who I hope to stay in touch with and those people I left have all let me know they are glad I'm back.
I'll take a trip. I'll take a trip any day. But I'm always happy to return home.