It’s been one week since you looked at me

When I travel on business, at first there’s the ooh of the cushy clean hotel bed, the aah of hot oatmeal and fresh smoothies delivered to my room for breakfast, the hey, there’s Zak Galifinakis in the hotel lobby. I’m feeling happy about a little break from the dreary office walls, the smelly cat litter, the brutal winter weather.

Then comes the one week mark. And everything changes.

After one week my heart starts to ache hearing those little squealy voices on the phone. After one week it strikes me profoundly that my arms are physically unable to reach through the computer screen and hug those little bodies and stroke that fine, beautiful hair. After one week the pixilation of the iChat video seems like a taunt. After one week I’m ready to be home. Only I’m not. Not yet.

On a video chat last night I could hear the tension in Nate – the testiness, the familiar exhaustion of going from full-time job to full-time parenting, the UGH Liz you’re getting them wound up right before bedtime. I thought, if I could be there, I wouldn’t be testy. I wouldn’t be snapping. (But I probably would.)

Sometimes one week gives you a reset. It an essential reminder of who you are when you’re not being Mom. It’s also an essential reminder that, despite the distance, you’re always Mom.

The sun is rising over the Santa Monica beach right now. The orange glow is sadly beautiful 2462 miles from home.

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