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Separation Anxiety

Right now, I am engulfed in a wave of anticipatory anxiety. I have nothing to feel anxious about at this exact moment, but I’m on the brink of some major changes.

At 6:00 p.m. last night, I finally got on a plane to Las Vegas (I was supposed to fly at 11:25, but my flight was canceled.) I’ll be at a conference all day today and Thursday, and I won’t be home until dinner Friday. Last year, Simon came to this conference with me. This year, he’s staying home with Matt. I’ve never been away from him for so long, and I’m not at all happy about the prospect. It seemed odd not to kiss him goodnight, and odder still not to awake to his babbling.

Next Thursday, Simon starts pre-school. It’s a little half-day program. I originally planned to enroll him for just three days a week, and then realized that that didn’t give me the work coverage I needed. The director assured me that most kids come five days a week and love it. Still, Simon has been taken care of exclusively in our home or at his grandmother’s by a small group of people until now, and even though I know he will benefit from the socialization, I worry he will be overwhelmed by the crowd, the schedule, and the change. I’m all for learning and socialization, but am I pushing too hard too early? That’s my fear.

To further complicate things, I have a two-day trip to Boston the first week of September, and I may have a California trip in between then and now to pitch a corporate alliance to a technology company. The opportunity here is significant; not just to give a presentation and hone my professional skills, but also to directly benefit from this alliance down the road. I need more business, and this alliance has presented itself at an optimal time.

But that’s even more time away coming right when school starts. Frankly, the whole thing is quite overwhelming. Kindly neighbors have teased me, “Simon will be fine. Are you ready?” in regard to these plans. And I suppose the most honest answer is, “You don’t know if he’s ready, and I know that I’m not. In fact, I’m quite anxious about his possibly not being ready.”

Understanding and support came from a somewhat unlikely source on Monday. I was reviewing my current work with my boss and was trying to sound completely unfazed by the possibility of a taking three trips in five weeks when she chimed in with some questions: “When does school start? When are you back from Vegas?” I told her, again sounding nonplussed (I hope!) by all the changes. She immediately cut back in “Do you need me to pitch the alliance for you? It wouldn’t be a problem, and it would make things less overwhelming for you that way. I’m sure everyone would understand.”

I thought then that I’d go ahead and make my pitch. Then I thought I should take her up on her offer. Now I think I may not have a choice, as the pitch may have to happen during my boss’s vacation. At any given moment, my feelings on this fluctuate. However it all ends up going down, I know I’ll feel much better in October when I’ve settled into what will be the new normal.

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