The last two Augusts I have gone with Howard to Worldcon, leaving the kids with relatives. Both times I felt very conflicted and stressed about leaving them. This internal turmoil found physical expression in a small pile of packages that I gave to them. They were to open the packages whenever they felt sad or lonely. The packages had dollar store items. What really happened was that the kids opened all the packages on the first day and then managed their emotions just fine on all the other days. They’re not much for delayed gratification. The truth was that the packages were as much for me as for them. I was harboring lots of guilt about the amount of emotional energy that I was spending on things other than them.
I just got back from dropping the kids off with relatives. This trip has been remarkably angst free. I did give them each one package to open. They each got a new book, but mostly because I think having a new book when mom and dad do conventions is a nice tradition. This time I’m not vainly attempting to compensate for anything because I’ve been giving lots of energy to the kids these past 8 months.
I left the kids in a house full of cousins. As a bonus, they managed to supply a litter of six week old kittens. The kittens are a little wild and so my kids will get to participate in gentling them. When I left Kiki had made a sort of a cave with her long sweater. All five kittens were curled up inside and peeking out at the other kids. They only gave me the most cursory of hugs. I only felt a vague awareness that I am going to miss them.
I love that I have relatives where I can just hand the kids over with no special instructions other than “Oh this one currently has pink-eye, here’s the bottle of eye drops.” My sister-in-law did not bat an eye. She just answered that one of hers had pink-eye too, so remembering the drops would be easy. I really wanted to stay and visit. It has been far too long, but I had a three hour drive ahead of me. I did not dare linger too long.
I was worried about driving three hours solo. But it turns out that caffeine perks me right up. Really up. Singing at the top of my voice kind of up. Of course I’ve been home for over an hour and I think the up may just barely be wearing off enough that I can sleep. This is good, because tomorrow I get on a plane to Penguicon where I’ll get to visit with old friends, meet online friends, and meet new people who will become friends. It will be good.