Saturday, April 20, 2013

Mama On the Road

Boston's North End. Thought of my Parmenter family!
The last two weeks have been a blur! I've had two 48-hour trips with two stops each! Last week, I went to Boston and Washington D.C. in 48-hours to charter two new ExactTarget user communities. I was traveling with my coworker, Rachel, and we grabbed a fun Italian dinner in Boston's North End less than a week before the mayhem unfolded with the Marathon.

Then this week, I headed back to D.C. to meet with a client who wants to start up a private user community for their company. I spent a brief night there before heading to Toronto for their user community meeting. I was in Toronto for only a day trip and then was home that evening. I barely made my flight home that night because of bad storms stunting travel in Detroit and Chicago. Thank goodness the sweet Delta agent booked me for the direct Air Canada flight back to Indy about an hour before it took off. But that meant I had to sprint the long haul between different terminals at the Toronto airport and then hurry through customs and security again. That was my closest call for sure. If I hadn't made that fight, I wouldn't have been home until the following day which was another day of tricky travel around storms. When I asked for help getting out of the first terminal, one agent asked me when my departure time was and then told me that I'd never make it so I should just give up. I'm so glad that I didn't. Ava was so happy that mama was home when she woke up!

Before I left this week, Ava told "mama, I'll be so sad when you're gone." I hugged her and reassured her that I'd be home the next night after she went to sleep. I replayed that moment in my mind when I ran to the flight to get home!
Beautiful view crossing the Columbia River

Dinner with Daddy while I was traveling
Ever since becoming a mother, traveling for work has taken a different flavor. It involved intense longing for my own bed and my family at home. But while I'm gone, I enjoy small moments of peace usually from the back seat of a cab or the seat of a train. It's strange in that moment not to on duty for making dinner, helping change into dress-up clothes, or get my preschooler a healthy snack. Traveling requires much more preparation than ever before! Before I leave, I make sure to do bath night, laundry, and prep lunches before I head to the airport. Aaron is a dedicated father, as you can imagine, who arranges his schedule to take Ava to school and back again in the evening. They have dinner dates too! While I was at a happy hour in D.C. with our clients after the charter meeting, I got a text from Aaron that he took her to the mall for dinner at their renovated food court. Those moments that connect me with home are bittersweet.

Cherry Blossoms in D.C.
I book my travel for the minimal time away from my family. It's too hard for me to be away for an extended time for all of us, even if it means waking at 3am for an early 6am departure. My company is empathetic, especially because we're balancing two travel schedules! Aaron and I both work for ExactTarget, our jobs requiring travel for customer meetings. But if I have to take Ava to a doctor appointment at 8:30am on a week day, it's not a big deal since I'm usually on the road. Time balances out.

I spend lots of time in route - the airport, taxis, trains, walking, and in all that time away my heart is always tied so closely to my family back home. Before we had Ava, I missed Aaron of course, but it wasn't a big deal to stay over night or extend time in a city. Now, I soak in as much as I can before rushing back to the airport.
Cozy spot to moderate #ETcafe Twitter chat

I find ways of making it work. Organization and planning ahead really help me stay sane. And on the nights and weekends we're home all together we take more time for laughs and family hugs. I'm about to enjoy some weeks at home before my next trip to Atlanta in May!

Sunny view from Toronto office

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