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What’s the most time you’ve spent apart from your favourite person? 

Okay, first of all, I should explain the concept of “favourite” in our house. My children often argued, playfully I believe, about who was my favourite. It lead to many conversation endings with me saying, Oh Kyle, you’re my favourite…boy. Or Laura, you’ve always been my favourite……girl. Eventually, I did confess that there were times in their lives when I “favoured” one or the other or that one or the other was not my “favourite” person at THAT moment.

In reality, they always have been and always will be two of my top favourite people, along with their dad, all of whom I love dearly and hate to be apart from.

The longest I have been away from my hubby is 16 days when I took the children on a driving trip to the east coast of Canada. The children were 8 and 11 and the first few days were rough, especially driving through Montreal during a weekday, in a construction zone, with no English signage! I had planned it out well, with sticky notes for directions each step of the way and Kyle in charge of the Triptik from CAA as my backup – this was the days of no GPS! Also, due to my lifelong habit of getting lost, I was on edge a lot in those first few days, so I had less patience than I should have and the kids, being kids, sometimes didn’t get along and it drove me crazy.

I recall one day pulling over in New Brunswick and telling them that everyone thought I was crazy for doing this on my own and maybe they were right and if they didn’t get along we’d have to turn back and prove them all right! Yeah, I was a bit melodramatic back in the day.

Truth be told, the kids were really amazing and it is a memory I always will be glad we created together. I missed my hubby not only for practical reasons, but because he is my rock and family vacations were always more fun!

Kyle has been away doing field work in Peru three times with the longest time being 9 weeks. It was right after his undergrad convocation and it was an exciting time in his life. At the same time, he had to travel in a very convoluted way, alone, to a place he had only heard about. As a parent, you want your child, adult or otherwise, to be safe and happy and, quite honestly, able to be in contact! The hardest time for me was not the middle, when he was actually farthest away and mostly out of contact. It was the first few days, when he was alone and in transit. He had to spend the night in the Lima airport and I had not heard great things about Lima at night – yes, I know the Internet can make anywhere sound scary! Not surprisingly, my very capable and cautious son made it to his destination, and back home again, not just that time but on two successive trips as well.

Kyle then headed to Boston this past fall as a visiting scientist at Harvard. There was regular contact, but no skyping or other ways for me to really get a sense of his life there. After 2 months, I felt the need to see him in person and we hopped on a plane a couple of days later. It was good timing for him as well as the time away had had its challenges.

Laura has been my truly longest “lost” favourite person, though. She’s not lost of course, she’s finding her life while away at school. She gave us a sense of her ability to live away at 16 when she went to Kenya for 3 weeks and we had no word from her other than briefly on arrival in the country. After that, it was just us thinking about her and her having a life changing experience.

Laura’s decision to go to school on the other side of the country was no surprise to us or anyone who knows her. She is a bright, capable and amazing person who, like her brother, can do whatever she sets her mind to do. I don’t worry about her, or at least not any more than when she lived here, or dwell on the fact that it may be 6 months or more before I see her. I just miss her, her energy, her spontaneity, her way of making you want to be a better you. Thank goodness for Skype – it’s been our best friend!

I am very lucky to have so many favourite people in my life and the ability to keep them close when we are apart. I am a mom first and foremost so the transition to having my TWO favourite children away at various times has proven challenging, but knowing that they are living their lives as they wish is the greatest reward.

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