We “Took the Trip”– And Left Our Kids For Ten Days

We “Took the Trip”– And Left Our Kids For Ten Days

“Take the trip!” You’ve probably heard or read this advice before. It’s something mostly said to people on the fence about whether or not they should splurge on traveling, or to parents with young children who aren’t sure if their kids will remember that vacation. “Just take the trip! You’ll never regret going and making those memories.” 

My husband and I had been planning and saving for a big trip for a while. We wanted to take a dream trip to celebrate our ten year anniversary. In the years since we’ve had kids, our traveling has either been work-related, “long weekend” style quick getaways, or family vacations with our kids in tow. We really wanted to go somewhere special, just the two of us, and with that in mind (and for a few other reasons), we picked Alaska.

This was going to be a big trip. As the details started to fall into place and the itinerary formed, we realized that to make the most of this trip, and if we wanted to have time to do everything we wanted, we’d have to go for longer than we were originally planning. The total trip was going to take ten days.

Ten days!

Some of you might not bat an eye at that, but it was an overwhelming number for me. The longest I’d ever been away from my three kids was five days, and that was for work. How would I leave them for ten days?? My anxiety over the trip was spiraling. What if something happened to them? What if they got sick? What if there was a weather event? What school events would we be missing? I recognize that it was a good problem to have, but the anxiety didn’t stop.

Everyone in my life worked overtime to assure me that it would all be fine. This was really a “once in a lifetime” kind of trip for us. We were fully aware of our privilege in having the funds to travel, the time to take off, and family members who were able to watch our children for us. Despite my extreme anxiety, I knew the grandparents were fully capable of managing things for ten days. I left three pages of detailed notes with medication dosages, doctors’ phone numbers, school routines, and more. I also made a paper chain with ten links to help the kids track the days and whose house they’d be sleeping at each night.

I spent a lot of time mapping out my anxieties over the trip with my therapist, and I was completely honest with anyone who asked if I were excited about going: “I’m excited, but very nervous.” I kept having to “zoom out” and look at the big picture: ten days was a lot, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not an unbearable amount of time.

We are lucky to live in a world with such amazing technology. I was able to FaceTime my kids every day we were gone. The grandparents supplied pictures throughout the day and all stepped in to cover school events, make sure homework was getting done, and bring them to extracurriculars. One of my nightmares did come true when one of my kids caught a stomach bug and another got an ear infection, but I had to remind myself over and over that there was nothing I could do from Alaska except trust that they were being taken care of.

In the end, it all worked out amazingly for us. On our ninth day, we saw the most breathtaking display of the northern lights– something we would have missed had the trip been even a day shorter. 

So in the end– we took the trip! And I can say with absolute certainty, though my anxiety ebbed and flowed, that we did not regret a single moment of it. It turned out my oldest did have a pretty hard time with us being away for that long, but after a solid forty-eight hours of him being glued to me upon our return, he was reassured that our love had never wavered and nothing was happening to him or to us.

With full acknowledgement of our privilege between funds and loving family to pitch in with childcare, I have to say that the “take the trip” advice served us well. I told my husband I finally felt like “Erica” again and not just “Mom.” I don’t think I’m ready for another trip of that length again anytime soon, but I’m so glad we went. 

Erica Tran
Erica lives in Kenner with her husband Michael and her three sons, Benjamin, Joshua, and Elijah. After graduating from UL Lafayette with a degree in advertising and landing her dream job, she left her chosen field and now works part time as an administrative assistant for a Catholic retreat movement. She spends the rest of her time at home with her boys, finding lost toys and actively ignoring various messes. In 2019, she self-published her first book, The Sister. There's not a lot of free time between working, reading and writing, and chasing her kids, but in those moments she's usually sprawled on the sofa in casual denial about just how messy her house is.


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