Thursday, March 19, 2015

Traveling without kids

This week my husband and I leave for California part business conference/part fun. The last time we left together on a trip like this was two years ago when his conference took us to Marco Island.

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot traveling without kids
The last time we traveled together

The time before that was Dallas. Hours before we were supposed to be on the plane, Marie had just been diagnosed with pneumonia. I struggled if I should stay home, but the grandparents assured me she would be ok. 

She was. 

I was not. 

I cried a lot and wondered what the hell I was doing. 

For the past three years, life has prevented me from traveling with Harrington to these amazing conference destinations. One time it was when I started a new job. Another time was when Thomas started Kindergarten this fall. Then there was the time I had to cancel the trip to Lake Tahoe/Napa when Marie having a hard time adjusting to a new school.

But this time, as of right now typing this, I am on a plane to California. Please note, I did cry the ugly cry at our boarding gate as I wolfed down my Egg McMuffin minus Canadian bacon because too much salt before flying is never a good idea.  I have been so fully entrenched in taking care of the kids, it felt impossible for me to leave, especially when they don’t want me to leave.

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot traveling without kids
Super excited that my non-waterproof liquid eyeliner stood the test of the ugly cry.

Marie is nervous about me leaving (actually, really super anxious), which makes me really super anxious. And than anxiety morphs itself into the strongest, most aggressive kind of mom guilt. 

So Marie asked me to make her coconut cream pie awhile ago, so I finally got around to that. 

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot traveling without kids
Just happy she didn't ask for a pony

I baked a ton of their breakfast muffins so they can keep up the same routine. I've been stockpiling all of their favorite snacks and treats. I show my love through food. 

I also having lovingly prepared countdown bags, an idea I got from my couisin years ago. Each day, they open a bag until we get home so they have a visual of when we get back. And it helps with my mom guilt, and they get fun little treats so everyone wins, really. 

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot traveling without kids
All of the gift bags.

I'm sure everything is going to be fine. And if not, they have enough carbs and ice cream to help them through the bumps. 

As for me, I am planning on the beautiful scenery and beverages of Napa and Sonoma will help me with the bumps along the way.

How often do you travel away from your kids? What do you do to make it easier?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Spring and Transitions

This week, there have been a string of sunny days with temps in the high 40s, low 50s.  In Michigan, just about everyone is rejoicing: spring is here!

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot spring transitions
The kids are excited that they *only* needed to wear a fleece and winter boots.

I do not share in the same delight.

Believe me when I am say that I am so ready for winter to be over, but March, and, if I am being totally honest, a large part of April is mostly the transition to spring. That final push to get through the last bit of winter is really difficult for me to embrace.  Warm, sunny days are not here yet.  I have a hard time cheering for dirty, melting snow and brown, dingy grass. 
Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot spring transitions

Sometimes I look to retail therapy to help me get through this challenging time.

Maybe a fun, cheery raincoat would help me feel brighter?

Erin Janda Rawlings Mommy on the Spot spring transitions
And I thought these cute flats would help, too.

But generally speaking, I do have difficulty with transitions. 
When I was in the 3rd grade, I hid my yellow blankie that I still needed at bedtime in my closet when my friends would come over so they wouldn’t know that I still sleep with it.  The summer between elementary school and junior high, I still played with my Jem dolls (well, not actually played with them, just dressed them up and did their hair  . . . because that is way less awkward than imaginative play).

Even when I moved out of my parents house into my first apartment after college, you know, after I lived pretty much lived all by myself for years, I still had a difficult time making that move.

When I look back on these consistently distressing examples and my challenges with springtime, I think the one thing that is missing here is a ritual that says, “This phase has officially ended.  We are now moving into this new phase.  Officially.”

I think I would fare better if there was something to mark the beginning of the spring, kind of like when we put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving and take it down soon after New Year’s Day.  I thought about Easter, but I don’t want this springtime celebration to be affiliated with a holiday that already has its own traditions, like dying eggs or Easter baskets or figuring out Easter plans.

I just want it to be easy and breezy – like the way spring should be.

So sometime in April, I will be having my First Annual Spring Celebration.

I have no idea what I am going to do, but I have been looking to Pinterest  for guidance.  Obviously.

So far, I think asparagus and daffodils need to be involved, but other than that, I am not sure.

I am open to suggestions.   Actually, please give me some suggestions because I am lost here.

Do you have a difficult time with transitions?  How do you celebrate spring?