IMG_0298.JPGThese are two very unexciting pieces of luggage: a ten-year old black nylon shoulder bag, and an LL Bean rolling carry-on, in basic New York black.

Boring, right?

Wrongo, batman. These unassuming bags represent an epic milestone: Mannahatta Mamma has hit the road.


Last fall, Husband and I went on our first weekend away together, and Grandma watched the kids. We went to a conference in Santa Fe and had a wonderful time together, sans enfants.

Last week, I left Husband and children alone for – wait for it – five days and four nights. Yes, almost an entire week.

Husband was left with a sheet of instructions (well, it was more than one page but I shrunk the font so that he wouldn’t feel overwhelmed): when various babysitters were coming; when the play-dates had been scheduled; what went in whose lunchboxes; what was in the freezer for dinner options.

Now, okay, truth be told, Husband probably didn’t need a full page of instructions (maybe the lunchbox memo, given that he’s never packed the lunchboxes before); I think probably the instructions were my own efforts at long-distance control.

And yes, probably there’s a tiny evil part of me that sort of wished everything would go haywire, if only so that I can know that I was missed (I mean…what if they are fine without me? What if I don’t have to be there every minute making sure that everything is going smoothly? Then what would I do?)

Even before I walked out the door of the San Francisco airport, into the bright clear sunshine, however, I came to a realization: traveling is really very easy without children. Did you know that?

That it’s possible to get on a plane with just two carry-ons, stow one of them in the overhead bin and then sit down with your book, maybe the newspaper or a magazine, and just … read? Maybe eat the smooshed sandwich you brought on board so that you don’t have to cough up the eight bucks for the half-frozen Delta baguette special? Maybe get up at some point, take a little stroll down the aisle for a leg stretch and a pee?

Traveling without children goes a long way towards restoring civility to air travel (or some vestige of civility, anyway, because let’s be honest, there is nothing civil about standing on a gross airport floor in bare feet while some dude holds up your ziploc of sundries and examines your taste in face lotion).

So there I was in lovely San Fran, visiting a dear friend from college, staying in her lovely house, visiting here and there with other friends. I wasn’t preparing for a conference, I wasn’t dashing in for a quick overnight; I wasn’t trekking with my kids to the playground when I’d rather sit on the deck and have a glass of wine.

In fact, I had what is known in the vernacular as a vacation.


I recommend it highly.