I am typing this on a train to New York City. It’s times like these when my sense of adventure and my comfort in being a tomboy collide. I like wearing cords and boots to work and balancing on curbs and running from point A to B, even if I’m in heels instead of boots. There is also a side of me that loves room service and the anonymity of travel, the shedding of identity and agility of confidence—away from the day-to-day you can rewrite the script.
Fifteen minutes in to the ride, I texted a photo to Sean in reply to his text letting me know the girls were just waking up.
“Little bit of me, little bit of the view.”
I can still feel the way my lips felt on their faces—First Ave, hair in her face, my kiss landing in the hollow beside her ear, her face pressed up against mine and then turned, burrowing back in the pillow. I crept up the rungs to Briar on the top bunk, the coming cries of youth jutting out in her stronger-by-the-day cheekbones. I paused, thinking she’d wake, but as I brushed against her, breathing an I love you across her face she didn’t rouse. I tiptoed down the ladder and hovered over Fin, the kinks of yesterdays braids crouched on either side of her face, I could see how they’d spring when she moved, but she didn’t. I pressed my lips into her cheek, the fullness still soft and intoxicating, a quick eskimo kiss to test, maybe she’d wake, one last hug. She took a deep breath, throaty and distinctly Fin, then was quiet.
When I turned around Sean was waiting. “You’ll tell them I did this, they’ll know I didn’t leave without kisses, right?” He was quiet and pressed his hand on my back. A tender smile and then, “I’m going to gentle push you out the door now.” I was grateful for it.
This morning as my little girls go off in three directions and Sean heads into Trampoline and Nine, I’ll join a friend I’ve adored for years, but never met in person, at an event she has helped coordinate as part of her role at MORE magazine. As the girls come home, with Sean keeping his promise, weather permitting, to meet them at the bus with bikes, I’ll be stepping into a training session with BlogHer, Friday will be more seminars, live-blogging the conference, and meeting up with new and old friends.
When I wake up Saturday, there won’t be anyone to hand my card to, no pitches to be made or schedules to keep. I’ll walk around the city, balancing Sean’s desire for me not to rubberneck and look like a tourist, and my desire to devour the sites like my girls would a double scoop, post-boat-ride ice cream cone in Bolt City.
I’l train home with little trinkets for the girls, memories of a few days with more doing and less momming, yet I already know that when I look back on the things I did and said, the sites I saw and the hours I kept, it will have been the same Amanda who misunderstands song lyrics but sings at the top of the lungs for her girls anyway, and who cuts the crusts off bread and drives miles out of the way to satisfy a request to see, “those big blower things that celebrate this holiday.”
Going away brings so much excitement, but honestly, the biggest thrill is knowing that at the end I get to go back home and be even more me than I was when I left for my sweet girls.