I leave on Friday for a whirlwind of a week abroad, just me and Lil Paul-Paul (as Laura calls him), traveling the US. We'll first be attending my sister's college graduation, as she has been to every single graduation for me and my two brothers - we owe her! Next, Paul and I will be hopping on a plane to fly to the West coast for a work conference. I won't simply be attending... I am presenting. Twice. Because I'm crazy, right?
But what mom isn't a little crazy. We do everything we can to be everything to everyone. We are first a daughter and sister, because they have been there from the very beginning: from the toddler tantrums, through the bad glasses and braces of middle school, the drama of high school and college, weddings and babies. We are a daughter and a sister, so we go to graduations, to show our love and support by being there for such a big achievement.
We are a wife to the man we met so many years ago on a Friday afternoon, and to whom we have promised a lifetime of love and devotion. So before we leave him with two young children for a week, we write out schedules and lunch plans. We prepare a birthday present for a friend's party. We buy easy dinners for the nights we are away.
We are mother to our beautiful sons and daughters. The children for whom we have wished and prayed and hoped for and continue to love every minute of every day. We want the very best for our children. For many mothers, that means staying home. And some of us go to work, trusting with every fiber of our being that they're okay all day without us. So we lovingly pack school bags, and ask for that one last hug at drop off, and eagerly await stories of their day away.
We are friends and colleagues. And sometimes that means we have to put work a little ahead of our families. We leave before the sun rises, and get home in time to help tuck in. Sometimes we travel - all the way across the country - to advance our careers. Sometimes this means we miss important things at home, like birthdays - both our own child's and a dear friend's. We miss packing lunches, and folding tiny pairs of shorts, and bath time and stories. We miss the beautiful mundane... but we miss it to ultimately to better support the families we so love.
So Friday I leave home, leave Laura and Gavin and Nate for seven days. I will spend time with my family - the original six of us (plus Paul), as none of our spouses will be there. I am so excited for this quick visit with my parents, sister and two brothers, just us, for the first time in years.
On Sunday, I fly to the West Coast and my first of two presentations. I'm missing Gavin's 2nd birthday. My big boy, turning two years old, and I'll be on a plane and speaking in front of strangers. But even while spending a week as a professional, I'll still be a mom first - with Paul attending every session in the front pack with me. I've been a little stressed about this crazy itinerary, I have a packing list a foot long, I'm not exactly sure how everything will go, I'm still tripping on my words for my presentation, and I'm a little worried about how well Paul will travel. But I know I can do it, because that's what moms do. We do it all.