I was at a conference in Fabulous Las Vegas. My colleague told me her kids didn’t really want to talk to her when she had called that day. I was telling her that my kids didn’t want to talk to me that day or the day before; and that they probably didn’t even miss me at all, and as if on cue, the phone rang.
“Oh, whaddaya know? Excuse me,” I said to my colleague. It was my sons’ cell phone calling me.
“Hi honey,” I said, not knowing which of my older two would be on the other end.
“Hi Mommy.” It was my middle son.
“What’s going on?” I asked, trying to sound cheerful.
“There are 77 hours until I can see you again,” he said, with an Eeyore twang to his voice.
“Oh, sweetie, that’s not really so long…do you miss me?”
“Yeah. I forgot what you look like!”
“Oh, go on. You did not.”
“Alright then, want me to have my colleague take a picture with my phone and I’ll send it to you?”
“Okay, mom. Also, our baseball game got cancelled.”
“Yeah, I heard. I got the email from your coach and forwarded it to Dad.”
“I never get to play baseball!”
“Sure you do, honey. The season has only just begun – I am sure they’ll schedule a make up game” If I recalled correctly, he had a game the next night anyway.
I talked to my middle son a bit more about what I was doing, what he was doing, what my hotel was like and so on. I realized I better not make it sound too great. But truthfully, even though I am working long hours at a business event, this is probably the closest thing to a vacation I’ve had…since last year when I worked at the same business event.
Mainly, it was a vacation from juggling work and parenting. I had someone else doing all the cooking and cleaning and I wouldn’t have to deal with laundry until I got home. I wasn’t in charge of parenting tasks including making lunches and helping with homework or chauffering.
After a while I asked my son if I could talk to his brother.
To my oldest, I said, “Your brother is sad.”
“Yeah, he misses you.”
“Can you go and give him a big hug and kiss for me?”
“Alright, never mind. Just be sure you’re extra nice to him. It won’t be long before I’m home.”
Then we talked about baseball a little bit, what I was doing, what he was doing, what my hotel was like and so on. “Oh, well, you know. It’s a hotel. No, I have no idea how many stars it has. It’s a nice hotel. There are three TVs in my suite.” I figured that would be the best way for the kids to understand how nice it was. They weren’t going to care that the bathroom was far fancier than our own, with two sinks, a separate tub and shower, and a private little room for the toilet (that included one of three phone extensions), very flattering lighting, a vanity, and one of the three TVs. Or that there were two sitting areas – one of which was a large L-shaped couch with a pull out bed – and an office area in the sunken living room. Or that the bed was big enough for a family movie party with the flat-screen HDTV. Well, they probably would care about that, since we don’t have any flat screen TVs in our house, due to the unfortunate “accident” with the Jenga blocks, that ruined the flat screen TV that Santa brought just weeks after Christmas a couple of years ago.
The next night, though, it was me who was lonely. I decided I needed to get away from the hotel and its artificially perfumed air that barely covered the stench of the casino and from the 6000+ attendees at the conference, and took a long walk down Las Vegas Boulevard.
I walked out of the hotel and fell in with the masses. But all I could see in on the crowded sidewalks were families with children, which is strange, because the ratio of children to adults in Las Vegas is surely much smaller than it is in some other popular vacation destinations. It just goes to show that you see what you are thinking about (“…seek and ye shall find…” ~ Matthew 7:7)
I missed my children. I counted the hours until I would see them again. There were 36. It wouldn’t be long before I was home…