Leaving and Arriving
If there is one thing I wish I could tell my children about my book tours it is this: I really, really, really dislike traveling without them. Really. But I can’t let them know just how difficult it is for me to leave, or I would put them in the role of parent, and they would be forced to make me feel better about my travel.
It already happened once. Harrison heard me murmuring about not wanting to travel for this trip to Chicago, which is centered on a 2-hour interview on WGN. I also wasn’t sure about a ten day NYC-Boston trip a week later.
“Why are you walking around, scratching your head?” Harrison asked, seated at the dining room table creating animation forms.
“I’m just not sure about all of this travel coming up. I’m going to miss you kids.”
“Mom,” he answered with an authority beyond his years. “How long did it take you to write this book?”
“Um, about three years.”
“And you got it published. That’s a big deal.”
“Yes, it is.”
He looked at me from across the pile of clay he was molding. “Then get behind it.”
He was right. And that is why I am writing this on a plane headed for Chicago. But it doesn’t mean it is easy to leave.
Considering touring for a published book is a dream come true for me, it might be surprising that I feel this way. The thing is, as much as this stage of my career is a goal realized, it pales in comparison to my ultimate dream since childhood – of becoming a mother. It’s no secret. I frequently tell Harrison and Olivia that no matter what happens in life, I’m living the ultimate life I wanted – I get to be their mom. Leaving my kids behind for my work is like jumping a chasm in order to get to the other side. I simply have to do it.
Yet, once I arrive at my destination, a new love sets in. Love for time alone, loving reconnecting with friends in the cities I visit, love of expanding myself, love for new people and new encounters. It is a necessary and gratifying part of my personal journey. And I bring home a much richer perspective than what I left with.
Last night, as I cuddled with Olivia in her bed, listening to her recap her day, my eyes scanned the silkiness of her smooth cheeks, followed the small upturn of her nose, took in her prominent chin. She still had the same features she had as a toddler. It would only be five days that I would be away from her but I still found myself memorizing her features.
As I sit here on the plane to Chicago, it occurs to me that maybe that’s another gift of my book tours. While I am doing my work with my eye on the future, I become clearer and clearer of all that I already have, and I cherish it.