When Eve was small, I attended two or three professional meetings a year. One was three days, one four, and one five days long and required a full day of travel, so I was gone for a week. I just loved those trips. Even the plane flights were restful, because nobody needed me to do anything and my beeper couldn't go off. I might have to stand up so someone else could go potty, but they could go all by themselves, and I didn't even have to wipe them. Plus a hotel room all to myself? Heaven.
Eve certainly didn't care. She had her Daddy and her teachers and her friends and her blanky. She was fine. My friends and colleagues were all sympathetic about how hard it was to leave my baby, and I just nodded. I never admitted to them that the primary emotion I felt was relief. I was always happy to go home, but I didn't mind leaving - not one little bit.
When Eve was six, one of those conferences was in Monterey, and Sam and Eve met me there toward the end of the week. I didn't know exactly when they'd arrive, so it was a surprise when we left the room to walk toward lunch and I heard a familiar shriek. I turned to see my daughter running as fast as she could towards me, arms held high so I could pick her up for one of those off-the-ground hugs. At that moment, traveling without her stopped being quite so enjoyable.
Now Eve is 12, and she has made it clear she doesn't like it when I go away alone, especially when I go visit her beloved Grandma and she has to stay home. That's where I am this weekend, taking care of some family business with my mother and attending the memorial for Uncle Fishy tomorrow night. I know it makes sense for me to be here by myself - neither Eve nor Sam would be at all interested in tomorrow's event, and the meetings we had this afternoon were not any fun, and she has dance class tomorrow for the last time before the recital...but she was pretty mopey this morning when I took her to school and I'm feeling kinda mopey tonight. Everything's OK, but I miss my kid.