Remember how I said I wouldn’t travel? Because I get all antsy about my routine and picky about how I like my coffee and fussy about pillows?
Well. I did it. I threw my fears about traveling off a cliff. And not just any cliff. The cliff of the Grand Canyon.
Dan and I’ve been contemplating a get away for just us. Meaning, we’d leave our toddler at home. Without the two of us for the first time. In the capable hands of her grandparents. But without us for the first time, nonetheless.
Did I experience panic attacks about this situation?
Did I lay in bed the night before our trip, starring at the ceiling and thinking up ways to get out of this trip?
Did I anxiously jitter my legs up and down on the plane before take off and probably start to frighten the fellow passengers?
But I didn’t let the fear strangle me. When I felt anxiety start to tighten around my neck, I’d carefully pry it off finger by finger and repeat “this is going to be fun, this is good for everyone, this is going to be fun.”
Three nights. That’s the longest time I’ve been away from Kate. And while Dan’s been on week-long business trips, this was the first time we’ve both left together. I worried she’d think we abandoned her. That were never coming back. That those four days were an eternity in her mind.
It turned out she couldn’t care less.
When I called my mom to check in, I heard my mom say: “Mama’s on the phone, Kate. Do you want to talk to Mama?”
And you know what that kid said?
I’d squeeze a few “hi, mamas,” and “I love you, mamas,” out of her before she’d toss the phone and proceed to run around my parent’s house, teasing the dogs, eating fistfulls of mini marshmellows, and dancing to The Fresh Beat Band.
I guess I didn’t need to worry about her missing me too much.
After I heard all the fun she was having, I started to relax. Dan and I toured the Grand Canyon on bikes, I let a giraffe kiss me at the Out of Africa wildlife park, and screamed as our Pink Jeep driver bounded over steep inclines of the Sedona Red Rocks.
It’s been a long while since Dan and I did anything, together, alone. Like, I can’t remember the last time. Neither of us even gets to pee alone with a toddler and dog underfoot. So just showering without having to turn on Elmo’s World and pray a short person doesn’t flush my favorite Cover Girl eyeshadow quad down the toilet felt like the ultimate luxery.
And something else happened. I discoverd maybe I do like to travel. Seeing new places is fun. Who knew? I’d never seen anything like the landscape of Sedona. I never believed I’d let a camel eat out of the palm of my hand or get frenched by a giraffe. I’m pretty sure I’ve never climbed to the top of anything. I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever bike a 21 mile loop while breathing in the air above the Grand Canyon.
Traveling can certainly be stressful. And, no, it wasn’t like home. But I felt my anxieties and fears and all the tension I carry at home slide off my shoulders as my arms widened to embrace all there is to see and do and feel.