When I was invited to go to Cozumel back when the kids were small, without the rest of the family, my little actor-son resorted to theatrics to get his point across.
While crying hard, he flung himself on the sofa yelling, “I can’t believe you’re going away. I can’t believe you’re going away at Easter? At Easter! On a holiday! Why do you have to go away on a holiday? How is the Easter Bunny going to find me? I feel like “Home Alone.” I can’t believe you’re going to leave me behind, leave your little boy behind in this miserable life!”
I started to laugh. “Miserable life, eh? With your sister and your dad?”
My children will never be happy about my traveling without them, no matter how grown up they become. No one wants to miss out.
My editor and friend, Matt Holliday, and his wife, Tracy, were helping me with edits on my new book on using the whole world to educate your children and couldn’t believe I did not feel guilty during this episode, as a mother. No, I felt badly for his pain and wished they could share in the adventure, but I did not feel guilty. At 5 years old, I knew there would be a lot more opportunities to take him places. And, this was my job- I am a travel writer and I would write a cover feature for The LA Times. (Do dad’s ever feel guilty going to work?)
NOW, I feel guilty, as I sign the documents to go to Zimbabwe & Nigeria and attend a press trip and the Annual World Congress of Africa at Victoria Falls. I was asked by my editor at JAXFAX Travel Marketing magazine to attend and write 3 stories. At the same time, Sierra and I were scheduled to go to Cape Cod for a short little graduation trip with just Mom. I had to cancel or postpone our trip and I feel terrible. How many trips do we get with our kids when they are 22 and getting ready to move to China for a year? I asked if I could have a rain check and do it up right and go to Greece when she returns from China- I know it is a long wait.
But this is still my job. It is soooo hard to sell international travel anymore- the market is glutted with travel writers and travel newspaper editors are out on the streets looking for work alongside us veteran freelancers. And with travel sections being eliminated by so many newspapers and resorting to Associated Press or other wire stories, we can hardly find an outlet. If I say no to my editor, he will find someone else to go, and then go to that more-reliable writer next time. It makes me feel guilty and it makes me feel sad. But I hope I get another chance and that my daughter knows no one is more important than her. BTW- Bryce still hates it when I travel to exotic places without him but he now refrains from throwing himself onthe couch when he finds out. Sometimes, his eyes do tear up though!