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Two Decades of Kids and Counting

By Sally Torbey

About this blog: About this blog: I have enjoyed parenting five children in Palo Alto for the past two decades and have opinions about everything to do with parenting kids (and dogs). The goal of my blog is to share the good times and discuss the ...  (More)

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A week away!

Uploaded: Jan 19, 2016
For the past 25 years, I have not traveled with my husband and left our kids at home for more than two days, and I now know why. It is way too much work.
Packing is the easy part. Although, with his usual abhorrence of checked luggage, my husband has limited us each to a carry-on for a week-long trip during which we will, in addition to visiting family and friends, attend three dinners, a "gala" celebration, two symposiums, and a university president's inauguration.
But far more complicated than my wardrobe dilemma is informing the sitter as to where our two teen-age daughters need to be at every moment, exactly what they need to have with them, and what each of them will or will not eat.
Then there is the paperwork. The signed permission to seek medical attention in the case of an emergency, the check for the flute instructor, the note on the bar mitzvah card, and the list of essential phone numbers: the pediatrician, the dentist, the orthodontist, the aunt who serves as our out-of-state earthquake contact, and most importantly, the cell phone of the mom who is essentially adopting our youngest for the weekend and driving her to no less than five events!
Even the dog has required paperwork before I can drop him off at the kennel, where he has been banned to board because the sitter does not care for dogs. Actually, not all dogs, just him. And although I have spent in excess of 50 hours preparing for this trip, I am absolutely certain I have forgotten a critical detail, and the 10 hour time change to our destination, and lack of access to wifi and texting, does not lend itself to quick calls to Mom to locate that elusive but essential pair of black flats.
On top of all this, nothing can prepare me for how completely bereft I am at missing a swim meet, the basketball finals, French presentation night at the middle school, youth choir singing at church, and our weekly mother-daughter tennis clinic!
We will enjoy this adventure, but I vow not to leave town again until our youngest graduates from high school!
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Carrie, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jan 19, 2016 at 8:47 am

Someone is organized.

Posted by Mathiew, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Jan 19, 2016 at 8:48 am

I am sure your husband will try to be helpful.... although he might not succeed all the time... :-)

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jan 19, 2016 at 8:49 am

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Hi Carrie,
Thanks for your support! Right now it seems that for every item I check off the "to-do-before-departure list", two more items are added!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jan 19, 2016 at 8:52 am

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Hi Matthew,
I just hope he is saving approximately .5 cubic feet in his suitcase for what is not going to fit in mine!

Posted by Maria, a resident of University South,
on Jan 19, 2016 at 12:32 pm

Have a great time, you'll see how well your kids will manage to be without parents. A good experience for all!

Posted by JK, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Jan 19, 2016 at 2:37 pm

You seem to be quite organized and have everything planned out to the last detail! Fun and interesting read and I hope that the process has not been too stressful!

Posted by LJ, a resident of another community,
on Jan 19, 2016 at 4:04 pm

Maybe all the craziness of getting ready for such a trip means you will sleep on the airplane! Have a great trip!

Posted by Karen, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Jan 19, 2016 at 5:45 pm

You have done all of the work to get away, and you haven't had any of the fun yet. I think you are going to have an amazing time, and all of the hassle will be worth it. I have to say I cannot imagine trying to cram a week's worth of party outfits into a carryon!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jan 19, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Hi Maria,
Yes, it will probably be a learning experience for all of us!

Hi JK,
It's been stressful but hopefully the "good" kind of stress.

Hi LJ,
Good point. There is an advantage to boarding an airplane completely exhausted!

Hi Karen,
I'll be wearing a lot of black, everything matches and it doesn't show dirt!

Posted by Karen, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Jan 21, 2016 at 11:30 am

Have a great trip Sally! It is definitely hard to plan time for yourself and not miss so many great kid activities. I'm glad I'm not the only one that hates missing games, recitals, etc. Your list is useful even to those of us staying behind to make sure we have our checklists up to date for the next few weeks! Have a fun and safe trip!

Posted by Sally Torbey, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jan 21, 2016 at 12:45 pm

Sally Torbey is a registered user.

Thanks, Karen, for your encouraging words. Planning for my absence has made me acutely aware of how much goes on here every day!

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