Wow. No matter how much planning I put into a trip, I am always worried that I have forgotten one critical detail. This trip has been germinating in my head for years so you’d think I’d have everything covered fairly well. The anxiety started in earnest about four weeks ago as I pondered this next blog entry. Considering the state of traveling, one of my biggest concerns is whether or not our connecting flights will all arrive in Atlanta in time for our mutual flight across the pond.
After one of my employees was recently stranded overnight in Chicago’s O’Hare airport, that seems like a very valid worry. I realize that for the most part, this is beyond my control but just-in-case; I will be arriving 4 hours early in Atlanta in the event that I need to run interference. My anti-anxiety tool is imagining all of us in our seats, readying for takeoff. It will be a small miracle but perhaps we’ll be in luck. And honestly, it has just now occurred to me “What if everyone else makes it there and I’m the one who misses the flight?” Oh God. I can’t even go there.
Then I began worrying about the how the kids and I will all get along on the journey. I recall traveling with my mother and how easily she irritated me. She could not wash her face of bad feelings but often refused to put words into what those feelings were. We were left to guess; pain, displeasure, disappointment? If asked what she wanted to do, she would not necessarily voice an opinion; however, if the wrong selection were made she would show her displeasure on her mug or just give The Silent Treatment. Yikes. Am I going to drive my kids nuts? Are they going to end up hating me, or blogging complaints about me in a private or public location? Are they going to gang up on me; three against one? I know I’m irritating. I know I talk too much. I know I worry too much… See how this works?
I thought I’d attack this by asking each of us what we thought drove others crazy. One of my children offered, “That I procrastinate.” In his case he was, at that moment, absolutely correct as the only one of us not to have yet secured a valid passport! I have a whole new patch of gray hair that I can name after passport anxiety that resolved when said passport was received 3 weeks in advance of boarding. Another of the travelers named “farting” as an annoying behavior though I suspect that may apply to more than one of us. TBD.
And then, on April 23rd. Darling Seana woke up with brain swelling again. This time there was no fever or coma (thankfully) but she was hospitalized for a week, and definitely suffered a setback. She is facing challenges due to new places affected in her brain. All of that other anxiety pales in comparison to this. She has worked so hard to get ready for this all-expenses-paid trip with her brothers and me. She has made incredible progress these past 9 months. And we are reminded that life is not fair, but we are still hopeful. I know this woman and I know she will do everything possible to get on that plane in Minneapolis!
Bill has been a prince. I worried about leaving him behind for a week. He told me a couple nights ago that he thinks this is perhaps one of the best ideas I’ve ever had; spending this time with just the kids. They will have memories for a lifetime and he is convinced that they will not hate me by the end of the week. I am so grateful to their spouses and partners for allowing this selfish venture to take place without consuming all of the travelers with guilt. In my mind, I’m prepping them for a return trip someday.
So here we are, just 12 days from departure. I’m going to repack again this weekend; mostly to see if I have anxiously eaten myself out of my Ireland clothes. I might have Bill build a little fire and camp out in the backyard tonight to de-stress. I’ll continue wrapping up loose ends for my day job with full intention not to peek at my work email while I’m gone. (Partial intention anyway.) Please light a candle for us and stay tuned!