Mother Nature heard my pleas. (Not to mention the pleas of thousands of people stranded a continent or two away from home and those of my sister, Erica.) The volcano quit spewing and so I began packing. I am SO excited about this trip.
When I leave home it is no easy task. Since I homeschool my kids it's not as easy as arranging drop-offs and pick-ups from school. Reminiscent of my years as a classroom teacher, I prepare detailed "sub" plans for the folks caring for my kids. Mark, is no sub, by the way, nor babysitter, nor stand-in. I'm not condescending. Any of you who know him in the flesh and have witnessed him with me and the boys know that he is the dad, my full-scale partner in parenting. But, the minutia of our daily lives are not the things he keeps track of and so it's usually necessary for me to write out plans of some detail for those times I'm absent.
Once, a couple years ago, I went away to a Jewish songleaders' retreat in Wisconsin for a week. It was amazing, a transformative experience, but the reason I'm telling you about it now is that you would have been very impressed with the notes I left behind. A calendar of activities, a page of contact names and phone numbers, and more on four pages. It took me weeks to flesh out. But, hey, it worked. Everything went smoothly.
A week after returning home Mark's uncle died and Mark needed to go back east to be with his family. The time frame went something like this: Saturday got the call, Sunday made the arrangements, Monday saw him standing at my bedside in the wee hours of the morning ready to leave for the airport.
"Bye, hon," he said. "I'm off."
"What, no notes? No sub plans?" I croaked, with as much irony and humor as one can muster at 5 am.
"Yeah, guess it's a little easier for me to leave, huh?" he said sheepishly.
I was only giving him grief in a teasing way, I know that he appreciates me and what I do with the guys. And yet, it is nice to sometimes to notice and be noticed. Yeah, I juggle a lot.
THIS TIME, however, I'm handling the task a little differently. I have arranged for activities, but haven't written any notes. Names are on the calendar and I know Mark is able to make the calls or send out the emails to the moms taking the kids for the day. I'm only going to be gone a eight days, three they have plans scheduled, two days are free, two days are weekend, and one is the day they drive down to San Francisco to pick me up. I'm confident it'll all be FINE.
After all, the boys may not even notice I'm gone. Imagine the extra time they'll have for TV and video games. (Mark and I used to joke about leaving them home with an endless loop videotape and a bowl of kibble...now with the frozen Amy's burritos in the freezer and the endless brain-numbing quantity of television on cable, I don't think we're far off from that scenario. Unfortunately.)
Not writing up the big plans feels a little risky. Yet, the three boys are so much older now, so much more able to figure out what they want to do and then do it. They don't seem to need as much herding as they used to.
So, my piles of folded laundry and my collection of small toiletries are accumulating. The knitted gifts are almost all wrapped. I have a few knitting projects for the plane, and my iPhone is stocked with podcasts to listen to when the pilot says I can turn it back on.
Two and a half days and counting.
I hope to blog from London...but until then...Cheerio!