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This time, though, I didn’t want to go. And this is new for me. When my kids were little, I admit I would look for reasons to leave. Conferences and time alone in a hotel room were gifts dropped from the heavens. I couldn’t wait to leave. I didn’t think about home when I was gone. It was a total respite; I rolled in the aloneness like a dog scratching his back on grass. I loved the “me-ness” of getting away.

And unlike you (or the you I think I know), I didn’t cry because I missed them. I cried when it was time to return.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love them; it wasn’t that I wasn’t happy. It was that those early years were overwhelming for me, especially without the benefits of medication to manage my OCD and anxiety.

But now, I feel settled. I feel in control. I don’t need to run away anymore to get that feeling of gaining control. My little people are not so little anymore and life it just…better.

Part of it I know is that during those early years, I wasn’t kind to myself. I rarely put my needs first—or second, or tenth. I was a martyr and it took going away for me to reconnect with myself. Not anymore. Now, I feel most like myself when I am connected to that little family unit I love so much. Each person in our crew of five plays a roll and when we are together, it all feels right.

I still love time alone. But now I make sure I get it more often and now I don’t have to run away to find it.