My oldest daughter and I are leaving on a much-needed vacation to California to visit with my biological mother and other relatives. I'm leaving my husband and two younger children behind and am having such mixed feelings.
On the one hand, I'm very excited to be embarking on this fabulous adventure with my 12-year old daughter. We used to be able to travel together a lot, but haven't since the other two have come into our lives. I know that time with her loving and adoring me might be fleeting, so I want to soak up this experience with every fiber of my being.
Having children with attachment issues, however, makes it very hard to leave the other two behind. I never know what behaviors are creeping up because my impending departure and, undoubtedly, I will have some penance to pay when I get home...lots of "feelings" will come out about my desertion once I return.
To make the separation a little easier on the ones left behind, I prepared a "gift of the day" basket as well as "messages of the day" for each of them. There are messages for both of them, just short and sweet, but something to remind them that I AM coming home, that I haven't abandoned them. I will also give them each a shirt of mine to sleep with while I'm away, not washed so that it will keep the "smell of me" alive in them while they sleep. I'm hoping that this will help to relieve some of their anxiety.
What do you do when you are leaving your children for an extended period of time? We all have our own strategies. I'm interested to hear yours...