For the first 411 days of my daughter's life I spent one night away from her - a single 24 hour getaway to a nearby inn to celebrate a milestone birthday for my husband. Back then she was in the sleep-eat-sleep-eat-sleep-eat phase of life, largely unaware of her surroundings and unlikely to achieve any "firsts."
But last Friday, I left her once again - this time in the walking-talking-expressive-doing-something-new-every-hour phase of life - to meet my mother, aunts, and cousin for a weekend away. Two nights away, too far to drive, and once I boarded the outbound plane I knew it was too late to turn back. As the plane taxied down the runway I found myself at a bit of a loss: I wasn't concerned for her well-being in the more than capable hands of her father, but despite his indulgence of my repeated FaceTime and photo requests, I wouldn't have the constant reassurance of her smiles - or fusses - to know exactly how she was doing moment by moment. And if I didn't know how she was doing, how would I know how I was doing?
But from the moment my family greeted me at the airport, I knew I had made the right choice. For the next 48 hours, we filled our weekend with near-constant activity: morning yoga, bookstore browsing, exploring new neighborhoods, eating good food, enjoying even better champagne, laughing until our faces hurt, and taking about everything under the sun. My baby girl was never far from my mind, and I will always be her mama, but it was so special to spend a few days simply being a daughter, niece, cousin, and friend. The destination for next year's getaway is set, and I am already looking forward to it.
You don't have to go far - or stay long - to derive the benefits of traveling alone. Can you carve out a day - or even a few hours - to just be you? How can you step away from routine to connect with someone or something you love?