Some of my long time readers may remember back when I was pregnant, had just moved to San Diego, and was pining away for Canada. I missed our old life. I felt trapped here. I wanted to go home. And, I missed my best friend's wedding because I was waiting for my green card. Well, in a lovely, and ironic twist of fate, I'm going to Canada this month, and I'm not as excited about it as you might imagine. My MIL gave to me all of her Capital One points so I could book a trip last year, and offered to watch my older children while I was away.
I didn't do anything with them. I wasn't ready to leave the Girl alone for more than one night at a time, even with her Beema. I didn't think she was ready. I'm still not sure she's ready some moments, but she's far closer than she was last year. But I may not be ready to leave her.
But this best friend, whose husband I have never met, lives in China. They moved there right after they were married. But she will be in Canada again, for a month, in the town where we both grew up. And so I dug out those travel points and started shopping for seat sales.
At first I contemplated cashing in all the points for train tickets for me and all the kids to go to Vancouver. It just feels so strange/foreign/pointless to go to visit people without my children along. Especially to visit the city of their birth. All of the things I love about Vancouver have to do with all of the things there are to see and do, things I discovered and did with my kids. It feels empty to do them by myself. The problem is that we still needed a way to get the 12 hours across the mountains to small town Alberta where my family still lives, where my best friend will be. My dad offered to pick us up and drive one way...but I can't find anyone able to drive us back to catch our train. And I remember how difficult it will be to have 3 children on a train for two days with only one adult and middle of the night trips to the bathroom. So I give up on that.
Then I tried to squeeze the miles into two plane tickets so the Girl can come too. But I want to visit friends in both provinces, because there are so many people that I love and want to see, so I want to fly from Calgary to Vancouver, which is cheap for one, but over budget for two. And now I am torn, but I choose the extra flight because I don't know how I will get to Canada again, and I want to see them all.
So I am leaving my two oldest children behind for 9 days. The Baby is coming on my lap. I'm going to see my mom, and my dad. I'm going to see my grandparents again and I've wanted to for so long. I will see my friend, whom I have known since kindergarten. I will visit close friends and long term acquaintances. I might see my little brother if he can find time in his busy work schedule to visit with me. He lives in Calgary and he's not even going to be there the week I arrive. He's doing a show in Edmonton. I will see my little sister's gig and watch her perform with her new band. I'll meet her boyfriend, finally. I'll see aunts and uncles.
I won't see my other life long best friend. She flies out of the same airport that I am landing in, 8 hours before I fly in. She is going to Niger for 4 years. We got dates mixed up. She came to see me last year so I don't feel as disappointed as I might have been. I've never met her little girl though and hoped to finally meet her.
I'm excited. I am. I really want to go and see people. But whereas two years ago I would have leaped on to the plane and taken off without a backward glance, now I find myself hoping it's worth the time. Worth the time away from my kids, and the risk, however small, of them never seeing me again, worth the expense and the inconvenience it causes my little and extended family.
Part of me looks at the departure date as it looms and wants to call the whole thing off and sit down and read a story to my kids and take them swimming and tuck them in at night. Part of me feels like I am being torn apart leaving them behind. I'm confident that they will be fine. I wouldn't leave if I wasn't. I'm just not so sure that I will be.
As much as I love the people I'm traveling to see, I love my kids more. I hope I don't miss them too much and can have some fun while I'm gone.