Traveling and having to be away from young kids is always kinda rough, not only on the kids, but also on the parents as well. All the parenting books I have read and classes I have taken has not made it much easier. Now that my son is 5 he is starting to understand a little better, but it is still a little difficult. To ease his mind I started talking about the trip a few weeks earlier and made sure I answered any questions he had. I made sure I spent some extra time with both my children and continued our normal routines as much as possible. As I was reading him a nighttime story a few nights before my oldest son asked "Who will read me nighttime stories when you are gone?" Knowing my wife would not be able to because of our youngest, I made a "deal" with him. The deal was when returned I would read him 4 pages of his stories instead of the normal 2. That made him happy and hope that it reassured him I would return soon.
The Day before I left: On the day before the trip I asked my 5 year old son to help. We talked about many things, the weather, what I should take with me, about how I would miss him, his mommy and baby brother, and that I would call and return home soon. My main concern was to help relieve any separation anxiety. I was really touched and choked up a bit when Kailan asked his mom for a picture of him and his brother and packed it in my bag. In my younger days I did a lot of unicycling and have a lot of unicycle shirts. I have one from my first competition that Kailan knows is very special to me. It has a tiger riding on a unicyle. So I went over to him with the shirt and asked him to keep it safe for me and wear it when he goes to bed. The joy on his face was unforgettable. I am two days into my trip and my wife told me last night he is wearing it every night.
The Day I left: I had to leave very early, in fact I woke up around 3 am. Before I left my son woke up and came wondering into the bedroom where I was finishing packing. I gave him a great big bear hug and took him back to his bed where he fell back asleep very quickly. I gave my 1 year old a kiss and my wife a big hug also. As I pulled out of the driveway my heart sank a little. While I had to leave, that fact did not make things any easier, and while kids may feel seperation anxiety, it can also be hard for parents too. I will think of them often while I am away and I have a great picture of my kids to look at when I call home to talk to them at the end of the day.
The morning after I arrived: Oh yeah, I almost forgot. The first morning of my trip when I was changing something strange happened. Imagine he surprise on my face when I tried to pull on my socks, only to find they would not reach beyond the middle of the bottom of my feet!! I will have to call my family tonight and I am sure we will get a great laugh how daddy forgot his socks and packed his sons instead!!