This weekend I'm flying to Texas for an annual Montessori conference. I went the two years after getting my certification, 2006 and 2007. Then life (ie: and international move + baby) got in the way, and I planned to go in 2010, I think, but then weather got in the way (remember that winter, when an ice storm decided to take over the entire eastern half of the US? So the night before I was supposed to fly to Atlanta our flight got canceled). Then another kid, and thus this is the first time I'll be going in, um, a few years.
Well, assuming another freak storm doesn't consume Texas or something between now and Thursday.
I'm pretty excited about this, for a few reasons. I'm excited to go again for the first time in years, and be around other Montessorians and listen to awesome lectures on Montessori topics (it just occurred to me how un-Montessori the format of these conferences is, hah, joke's on us I guess ; ). I'm hoping to catch up with a few colleagues I haven't really talked to in a while. This will also be my first time to attend since I started writing for MariaMontessori.com. Apparently a few people at well-known schools now recognize my name because of my posts, which is exciting and a little weird, and so I wonder if people will "recognize" me in person from that.
I'm also super excited because I get a few solid days of being something other than Mom To Donovan and Quinn. I know I'll miss the kids, but it will be nice to get a break from them for a few days. It's been kinda intense here lately, the kids just need me so intensely and maybe it's bad of me to leave them for almost 5 days in the midst of that but I also feel like I need it, on a few different levels. Some breathing room.
I know this will sound a bit strange to anyone who hasn't traveled with kids much, but I'm SO EXCITED to fly BY MYSELF for the first time in four years. I've flown many times since becoming a parent, and always accompanied by at least one small child. I flew solo with Donovan several times when he was 1-3 years old. Those trips always went pretty well considering, but it's still stressful to have to entertain a small child when they're confined to a small space for several hours. I'm really looking forward to actually getting to pack stuff for myself, to read for several hours uninterrupted if I want to, to sip my soda at leisure without worrying about one of my children knocking it over onto our laps. Oh, and SLEEP. Yeah.
Of course, I'm a bit nervous about it all, too. For one thing, both of the other two times I went I was part of a group. This time I'm going by myself. My inner shy girl is kinda freaking out a wee bit about that part. It also sucks that this trip means losing a precious weekend with Zach-- I'll only get to see him a few hours on Monday after I get back, before he has to leave for work again.
And as much as I look forward to getting away from the kids I'm also nervous about leaving them. This is the longest I'll have ever been away from them. I've been away from D for up to 3 days before, but only ever overnight for Q. I'm a little nervous about how he'll do while I'm away-- he's still nursing, and a lot of that is for comfort. I'm hoping it'll kinda be an out-of-sight-out-of-mind kinda thing where if I'm not around he won't miss nursing so much.... and same for Donovan, who's been on a major Mama-phase for well all his life but especially so these past few weeks. Just tonight he had a major meltdown just waiting for me to be done getting Quinn down for bed. So, I'm hoping that if I'm not even around at all they will be fine with Zach and my mom for everything (she's here Wednesday for a week to help out while I;'m gone). Otherwise it might be a tough weekend for them all...
I've gone back and forth a few times on whether it even makes sense for me to go this year. The mom-guilt rears its head and I hear this voice saying, "Are you crazy leaving your kids for so long when they're so little?!" But I know they'll be fine, and I so rarely get to do anything big for me, and who knows when will be the next chance to attend this conference (probably not till after Zach's done with business school, at least). And, you know, by now the registration's paid for and tickets and hotel are booked and everything.
And they'll be fine, and I deserve this.