Far Away Mommy.
by Jennifer Sey
I am writing this on a plane from Barcelona to San Francisco. Well, I'm really on a plane from Frankfurt to San Francisco but I started the return flight from Barcelona. I was in Europe – Italy and Spain - for a week for work. I attended the European men's apparel trade fair and the Dockers European Sales Launch. Sounds pretty glamorous, I know.
I will get home on a Friday afternoon, having left eight days earlier. Once I am home, I will get as many hugs and snuggles as possible before leaving again for a week in New York. Again, sounds pretty fabulous.
But I have been dreading these two weeks for several months. Don't get me wrong. Florence was beautiful if not a tad too hot. The sites - the Duomo, the Arno, the Ponte Vecchio - were stunning, though somewhat blurry as I buzzed past them on the way to meetings. Barcelona's Gaudi buildings and Las Ramblas were also dazzling. The food and drink – salty meat and cheese, red wine – were delicious in both places. I worked a lot, but enjoyed authentic, luscious meals in between.
At my behest, my oldest learned to send emails while I was away so we communicated regularly with photo attachments and all. (“This is what I saw today,” mommy wrote. “I got to the next level in my game today and daddy had a meeting and I miss you please come home and I will give you a big hug,” wrote Virgil.)
But emails can't bridge the distance. No way to send a hug or smell dirty overgrown little boy hair via email. Furthermore, my husband and I always struggle with the phone. He doesn't like telecommunicating. Not big on communicating in general but I can draw it out of him in person. He loathes small talk which is what I crave when far away. I need the familiarity of dinner conversation that isn't about work and selling more pants. (“El Corte Ingles is the only department store in Spain and represents significant further opportunity for us.” And so on and so on and so on.)
When I fail to re-create the the inane back and forth of husband and wife dinner chatter over the phone, I get mad. Snippy really. And then we fight. Over the phone with me a gazillion miles away. It sucks big time.
Nonetheless, I always get through it. I wonder how long I can keep doing it, being away from my family for work. I wonder this every time I'm gone. But the fact is, I don't do it that much. All told I am probably gone a total of 4 or 5 weeks a year, not in a row. A few days here and there with some big week long chunks in the middle. Completely do-able. But I never fail to question – Why do I do this? I'm missing everything! - when I am away for long stretches.