Hiding in my kid’s suitcase

by singlemomseeking on August 5, 2009

I’ve spent the past few days re-reading your advice about letting my kid go to Hawaii. Alone.

“You’ll miss her, but you’ll get over it,” wrote Jen at Semantically Driven. “I’m sure you deserve a week to yourself.”

“Do it,” commanded Bad Mummy. “Some space is good for the both of you.”

John at Single Parent Travel even included a super detailed kid’s packing list in his comment!

First, thank you so much for chiming in! But here’s what kind of shocked me: NOT one of you told me to keep my kid at home.

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So, I checked in with M one more time. Me: “Are you sure?”

Her: “I’m sure, I’m sure!!”

I got all ready to call her friend’s grandparents — to thank them profusely. No doubt, I do need some time off. In fact, Dr. Leah, aka The Sanity Fairy , has been encouraging me to take a little breather. I can’t pretend that I’m doing this all and staying sane. (You get that, don’t you?)

Still, I worried. (Some might use stronger words, like “obsessed.”)

Here’s what really felt hard: nine days. She and I have never been apart for more than three days. I could do a week. I’m sure that she could too, easy. But nine days… NINE DAYS!

In the meantime, that LG listened to me worry. I went on and on — and that’s when we both looked at each other and smiled. Wait, what if?… Why don’t we go to Hawaii, too?

No, it’s not what you think. I’m not hiding in my kid’s suitcase. I’m not going as a chaperon. And I’m not going to tag along for kids’ snow cones.

But I AM going to hike for one week, adults only, while my kid lives it up on her own. At the week’s end, I’ll pick her up for a few days of family fun, including snorkeling for her first time, before we head home.

And hey, if she misses me, we’ll always be on the same island, right?… Okay, I’ll stop now.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

bad mummy August 5, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Best mum ever!!!

Sounds like this is the best of both worlds! Got room in your suitcase for me?!

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Alicia August 5, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Rachel, you somehow always come up with the most logical, sensical, BRILLIANT solutions! Love it – hope you have fun hiking, and IF you should hurt your foot, please let LG take good care of you!

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Dr.Leah www.singlemommyhood.com August 5, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Doesn’t this all sound just so terrific! I think we’d all like to join this adventure. M is going to have a terrific time and, of course, so is Rachel.

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April August 5, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Great, now I get to be jealous of BOTH you and your daughter!

*sigh* Have fun.

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K Nelson (more than jealous) August 5, 2009 at 2:29 pm

If I had known that was an option I would have chimed in with that one!

Wow! Well, i hope she lets you share a picture or two of yopur family fun in HI!

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MindyMom August 5, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Perfect! You get to enjoy Hawaii adult-style while someone else watches your kid AND you’re close enough to see her when/if you miss her. And you know you will miss her before she misses you, right?

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Honey August 5, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Just think of it as the baby step before she turns 18 and decides that she wants to go to college on the East Coast. :-)

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singlemomseeking August 6, 2009 at 9:15 am

@Honey: that’s exactly what I was joking about yesterday! I said out loud in the car: “This is certainly good practice if you take off for NYU or Columbia, right?”

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jen August 5, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Sounds like a great compromise.

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Bobbi Janay August 6, 2009 at 12:40 am

That is a great idea, but remember to relax and enjoy your kid free time.

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Nicki August 6, 2009 at 5:54 am

Huh. I’m going to have to start taking a page out of your parenting book. Well done!

And remember to share some great pictures for those of us without that option so we can all live vicariously through you!

Have a great time!

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GLSD August 6, 2009 at 9:00 pm

I’m so happy for you and LG! What island? Have the best time and enjoy yourself and that family bonding too. Try parasailing…it’s so much fun! XX

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Shannon August 7, 2009 at 9:42 am

So glad you made this decision. I would have been the momma telling you not to let her go…it’s just too far in my mind. But now, well now that you are on the same island…now I say DEFINITELY! Perfect solution!

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Single Mom Survives August 7, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Awww – have a wonderful time. You do need some adult time. We all do and it’s the hardest thing for us to and enjoy. It’s not just the guilt, it’s all the missing that we do. I love your solution, brilliant!

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Priscilla San Remo August 8, 2009 at 9:43 am

OK, I’m not going to be popular here but I’ll say it anyway. While I think LG had the best of intentions, and going to Hawaii too sounds like a good compromise, he is enabling what some might call helicopter parenting. It sounds like a great solution but 1) you are not really getting time alone to just experience being at home without a kid, and 2) you are doing this for you, not really for M, who has said she will be fine.

Even if she went to Hawaii alone and experienced homesickness, it would be OK. Why are parents today so concerned with preventing their children from feeling any unhappiness or failure? They NEED to have those experiences to grow.

You need to do what you need to do to feel OK about the situation, and I respect that. But as long as you’re soliciting comments, I thought I’d chime in.

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singlemomseeking August 8, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Priscilla: I really appreciate your honesty. That matters a lot to me.

Yes, you’re right: I am doing this for me, most likely. It’s true that kids do need to experience what it’s like to feel sad or miss people. (I think my kid had already gotten a good dose of that so far…)

For the record: I’ll be on different side of the island. I’ve explained that she’s having her vacation for a week, and I’m having mine…. I won’t be dropping by to “check in.”

I’d LOVE to know what other parents think about this one:

Would you call this “helicopter parenting”?

Is it important for kids to experience homesickness?

Thanks!

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tanasie August 8, 2009 at 7:29 pm

How old is your daughter, again? My grandmother took me to Hawaii when I was 12 — and I hate to say it, but my all-time worst childhood memories took place in paradise. My cousin and I were just talking about that the other day (because Grandma took him a year later for his bar-mitzvah trip). I think Hawaii is a lovely place. I would definitely lobby against letting your daughter go to Hawaii with MY grandmother… but let’s hope her friend’s grandparents aren’t, well, like mine.

On my trip, I went alone with grandma for the first two weeks. And then my mom came for the third week. I really missed my mom.

But the best part of the trip, was that my dad sent me a snail-mail letter every day. Just a little card or a cartoon. (He did the same when I was in college.) Maybe you could send her a postcard. It’s nice to get mail.

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singlemomseeking August 10, 2009 at 3:40 pm

@Tanasie… She’s 9. Thanks for letting me hear the “other” side. Wow, two weeks on your own? Maybe that was TOO long. Of course, I’m dying to hear what your grandma was like!

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Dido August 12, 2009 at 2:48 am

PERFECT.
clever girl.
have fun!

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Dido August 14, 2009 at 4:33 am

…and, btw, what’s wrong in doing it for yourself??
plus, you’ll be on a whole different side of the island. (some people actually live in a country that size!)
you will be having your holiday – even better than time alone at home – and she’ll be having hers.
and as a bonus, you get to have a couple of days of holidays together too.
sounds perfect to me.
don’t sweat it.

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