February 27, 2009

On Travel

I have lived in somewhat unusual places like Japan, Russia and Los Angeles. I was a global project manager and have traveled all over the world. But between you and me, I never really liked it - the logistics, the organization, the packing, the rushing to the airport in the winter. These things are not for me. So having kids was a fine excuse to stop traveling so much.

And now I'm out of practice. For my recent trip to California I checked my itinerary about ten times, looking for mistakes. I agonized over my car rental. I shopped for an entire week of food so Ralf wouldn't forget to feed the kids. I smothered my babies with kisses as if they could be rationed during my absence.

I kissed their pillows one last time before I left, in case, God forbid, something should happen to me.

Ralf brings me to the airport. It was a bit like our old dating days when I would visit him in Milan for the weekend and he would bring me to the train station to return to Germany. . . but only almost because now we are partners in this different life that includes children.

He leaves me to go through security and I face a stern security guard who wants to throw away my eye cream because I hadn't put it in a plastic bag.

'Go ahead,' I tell her. She doesn't like this. She wants me to go get a plastic bag.

'I don't have time,' I tell her.

'Then we must throw it away,' she says.

'Go for it,' I say.

'You understand, that's the rule,' she says.

'I understand,' I assure her.

Inexplicably, however, she does not throw it away. She runs it through the machine and I furtively stick it back in my purse on the other side.

The poor Italian guy in front of me loses his shower gel, however. The penalty for having expensive toiletries, I guess.

At the gate I look around and wonder, as I always do before flying, if this will be the end of my journey. I miss my babies and melodramatically wonder if I will see them again. I wonder if my last Facebook status, 'Laura has left the room,' will be my epitaph.

But I am flying with Lufthansa. The Germans may not care about customer service but they take their engineering seriously.

On the plane I wonder how people can afford business class with their kids.

No one is sitting next to me. A small miracle.

I jot down notes for my upcoming meeting.
I read about the octuplets.
I miss my boobies.
I miss Ralf.

I am a free radical. Ten more days before I am the nucleus of my family again.

We take off and the countdown begins.


  1. You are an amazing blogger to still be blogging out of the country!

  2. The best part of business travel for me ALWAYS is going home! I so completely understand your countdown. I never travel lightly -- from an emotional perspective...

  3. Can I tell you HoneyPH? I go through the exact same formula and thought process you just described every time I travel without my family. Safe travels.

  4. Wow... I do not get to go anywhere often and when I do I somehow have to bring the kids. I can see all of the struggles that you must have in leaving without them. The last time I was on a plane was about 4 years ago and it was the whole family. All I could think was that I was glad we were all there together... you know in case!


    Please visit me at http://www.askbecca.com

  5. business class with kids? we do it all the time because we're either being moved, so the company picks up the tab, or using frequent flier miles.

  6. You're a much better mother than I am. I left for my flight and my little boys hardly knew I was leaving. It's easier to avoid the drama that way. I hope The Mister remembers to pick up Happy Meals, because there's not much left in the fridge. Failure that I may be, I promise to take care of HRH this weekend and we'll all be back home and back to normal by Monday.

    Enjoy your trip. Get back to blogging soon!

  7. I'm off to NY next week without my daughter. It will be only the third time in five plus years that we have been apart for more than three days (I am divorced so the two day not seeing each thing is a ritual, sadly) and I feel the same way as you do. I hope you have a great trip

  8. Amazing how throwing kids in the mix, changes the dynamics! Wishing you safe travels!

  9. Ten days of freedom...? Or in my case - I couldn't be without the kids for that long...


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