Traveling and Unraveling

Iam three-and-a-half weeks into a month without my boys. This is what happens when you are divorced: you are a child-less mother for periods of the year. Once, when I was going through the throes of my dying marriage I told an acquaintance about our separation. Used to stricken faces and sympathy, her response took me off guard. I think that would be the best of both worlds, she said. You’d have built-in time off.

(Huh. Not my first choice, but Word.)

Four weeks solo yawned with possibilities but it scared me too. My boys are my anchors — what would it be like to be unmoored? Travel and unravel by degrees I suppose, all necessary and good: my first vacation in 10 years! Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Chicago. Sunsets, sunrises, long walks alone interspersed with visits from friends. You figure things out, you get some clarity, you listen to the silence and hear echoes of yourself, a self you once knew. You try to sleep past 6 a.m. but fail each day, your body has memorized the routine whether they are here or not. You whisper good morning to the air and to the fur-monster sitting on your pillow waiting to be fed. (He misses them too).

This is not the way it’s supposed to be, of course, this month alone without kids. The flip side: I solo parent the other 11 months, weekends included — fair trade? My boys would say not. This is not the way it was supposed to be but it’s the way it is.

“Bottom line is, even if you see ’em coming, you’re not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can’t help that. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. That’s when you find out who you are.” —Joss Whedon

I do love that Joss. The moments, dear god, the moments. Good thing they come in all sizes and that my favorite moments will be home soon.


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  • I hear you. Although it sounds like you’re handling it more gracefully than me. I’m halfway into my second of two non-consecutive childless weeks this summer. The first couple of days are restful and G-d knows I need the break, but after 2 or 3 days my heart aches and I hate the separation. P.S. Beautiful photos!


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