It’s been a very long time since I took such an extended trip.
As a junior in high school, I got to attend a science program/school in California for six weeks in the summer of 1974. It was a defining moment in my life for many reasons, among which is that it was my first time ever being away from home for more than a couple of days. I don’t remember it being this complicated.
A couple of years after we married, Kerry went on a month-long trip for business to South America. In those days, there was no internet, Skype, cell phone, or any of the other miracles we use now to have constant instantaneous worldwide communication. Then, to scout future cities to live and work in, I spent a summer working in Dallas and Houston while Kerry stayed in Chicago. Both of those were difficult separations for many reasons, but we didn’t own a house and we didn’t have children. So despite the lack of communication, I don’t remember it being this complicated.
So for the first time in about thirty years, I am about to be away from home and away from my dear wife for a month. It’s complicated.
There’s the house and pool and yard that must be dealt with. There are bills to pay and bills that haven’t come in yet but will have to be paid. There are telephone away messages to change and email to deal with. We’ve got some electronic banking set up, and we’ve installed and tested Skype. But then there’s the 10-1/2 hour time difference and the uncertainty about my ability to get an internet connection. There are kids, summer activities, cars, dogs (cats too, I suppose), and the hundreds of other details of everyday ordinary life that have developed over thirty years of habits and acquisitions.
And so as I travel, I have a worry in the back of my brain about problems that could come up. I’m not the least bit worried that Kerry can’t handle anything that happens. She’s brilliant and has a wonderful group of supportive friends. It’s guilt that I won’t be there to help and advise and to lighten the burden on her.
But the biggest fear is that everything will go just fine, and I’ll walk in on July 31 and hear: “Oh, were you gone?”