This Sunday, I’m heading to the West coast of America for a series of work-based meetings, which will see me spending 8 days away from my family – the longest time I’ve been away from them in their short lives.
It will also be the first time I’ve ever been away from Freddie for more than a few nights. Back in 2010, when Robert was just 2 years old, I spent 6 days away from him on a work trip to Australia – which he still talks about to this day, though mainly due to excitement.
I’m not going to lie, I’m very excited to be heading to a place I’ve wanted to visit for a long, long time. But I’ve also got a massive dose of apprehension festering in the pit of my stomach, and I’m going to miss my wife and boys massively.
I don’t know about other parents, but the concept of a bit of time away from my young children is often something I wish for – though when I imagine it, I’m usually accompanied by my wife and we’d be heading somewhere nice or exciting for the night.
But as much as the prospect of a few less early wake-ups is appealing right now, I suspect my week away is going to give me a healthy dose of perspective, reminding me of all the great things they add to my life.
Hopefully a week away will pass by in a heart-beat – it certainly will for me, and not just because I’ll spend a large chunk of it in transit or in meetings. But I hope I don’t miss any exciting moments. Thankfully I doubt I’ll miss any major developmental milestones – luckily, both of my boys are now of an age where most of the big early-years milestones have passed.
Heaven knows how parents cope when they have to be away from their families for much longer periods – whether in the armed forces, working away from home or kept apart for other unavoidable reasons. I certainly count my blessings when I remember that I get to see my family almost every single day, and lots of people don’t.
Thankfully, the most exciting prospect of my time away seems to be the concept that they’ll get a present from America when I return home – something I’m almost certain to pander to far too much!
And of course my wife will be the one picking up the slack all week, doing the work of both parents (even moreso than usual!) and coping on her own for much longer than normal. Hmm, perhaps I should book in a few of those mythical nights away to thank her?!
Wish me luck – I’m sure I’ll tell you all about it when I get home…