It wasn’t that long into the planning process when, one night after I’d excited relayed the details behind the committee’s decision to have the convention in New Orleans, and the hotel we’d chosen, (Hotel Monaco, sadly which after our convention was badly damaged during Katrina and never reopened) my husband looked pointedly at me and asked the question I’d been dreading: “You’re not actually thinking that you’re going to this thing, are you Rhonda?”
After a couple deep breaths, I explained that I really WAS hoping to go – but only if he thought we could do it. It’s very tough for me to go anywhere these days, but back in 2004, it was even tougher! We had two young children at that point, my husband had just been laid off by one company and hired by another…and I’d have to find some way to get the kids to and from school along with having someone watch them while my husband was working during the day. I was determined though, and while it was very, very clear that I was walking a fine line with my husband, he didn’t say no. That said, it didn’t make home life any easier. My husband just didn’t understand my fascination with not only message boards, but working so hard at planning a convention even though I wasn’t being paid. I guess that to me, my “payment” was the enjoyment I received from feeling as though I was part of a group. I loved the fact that I was working, so to speak, with other adults. Once again I have to say that there was something very desirable about having this be one thing that was all for me. I didn’t have to share the message boards, the friends I was making, or the convention planning with anyone….but on the same token I loved talking about everything I was doing, even though I knew that to some extent, the very things I enjoyed doing were putting quite a wedge between my husband and myself. I suppose at the time I just felt that the sacrifice was worth it. I needed this for me.
It was with great joy that I was able to go back to the planning committee and give my own personal commitment for attending the convention. I couldn’t imagine doing all of the work and not being able to go and see how it came out for myself, so I was thrilled by that respect. On the other hand, however, I was nervous, if not downright scared. First of all, up until that point, I’d never left my two children for more than a day to go somewhere by myself. My husband and I had taken vacations without the kids before, but only for a couple of days, and as I said – we were together. I kind of felt selfish for wanting the time to myself, and especially when I thought about the fact that it wasn’t just an overnighter to go to a MOMS Club event or a scrapbooking convention or something that pertained to being a mom. No, this was solely MY thing. I couldn’t even justify a good reason for my attendance other than saying that I really wanted to go! I suppose I really shouldn’t have felt as though I had to justify my reasons for going, but that’s never been the way our family has worked. My husband comes and goes as he needs for work, never giving me more than day or two notice of his travels – and most of the time it’s a LOT less – which completely annoys me, but he always says the magic words…”It’s my job.” Somehow that’s supposed to make it all OK. I’m not sure that it ever really does, but it’s the life I lead. I make it work. I don’t work for a salary outside of the home, so therefore none of my travel is ever really necessary or justified (don’t get me started about traveling for the sake of book research…that comes MUCH later.) So, as time passed I worried about every last thing that needed to be accomplished while I was gone, and I have to say – I had a lot of sleepless nights during the summer before I went to the convention. I tried very hard to make myself sound “cool” online and not talk about my worries behind leaving my kids, but I knew that in order for my marriage to stay on the same even keel I was used to, I had to make sure everything ran as smooth as silk in my absence.
to be continued tomorrow….