This past year, Lenny has done more than his fair share of business travel. It can be hard on all of us, but we’ve found a few things to make the time apart a bit more interesting. Hopefully if you find yourself in my worn out slippers, they’ll help put a smile on the little faces in your house too.
I figured I’d start with the obvious. We don’t want Lenny to miss seeing how
exhausting wonderful our day was, so we use FaceTime to chat in the evening before bed. (We have friends who prefer Skype for the larger screen.) Sometimes the boys even stop looking at their own image long enough to remember what they wanted to say. Sometimes.
Tip #2: Absence Makes the Brain Grow Stronger
When the plane takes off, we pull out the map to see where Lenny’s headed. I even sneak in a few fun facts about the city. These days those nuggets are usually the local sports teams’ and stadiums’ names (which makes Pittsburg a favorite destination in the Heinz household—for the boys, at least).
Come packing time, somebody’s sure to ask, “Do you have the monkey?” That’s right, Lenny has a travel companion. And each day he sends pictures of the monkey in an interesting spot along the way. Ground Zero, Times Square, the local gas station… Not only do the kids get to see some cool spots, they know their dad is thinking of them wherever he happens to be that night.
Adults get reward points, so kids deserve a little something too. The rare trip to a really cool place may call for a special souvenir, but you can also just start a collection of something cheap that can easily be picked up in an airport. Think key chains, magnets, bumper stickers. My dad used to travel when I was little and he’d always bring me a tape. (You know, the dinosaur version of a CD.) My favorite was Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell. Not because I liked the music, but because I remember him saying he asked a young guy that he worked with what was cool. Well, I was far from cool at 7 years old, but to this day that music makes me smile.
Big has started writing notes and hiding them around the house for Lenny to find when he comes home. They all say almost the exact same thing, but it’s a sweet way to be mindful that being away isn’t fun for his dad either. (Well, those expensed dinners aren’t terrible, but the rest…)
Does your job or hobby have you jet setting? What are your tricks for making the time away from the kids a bit easier?
Amy Nelson says
We pretty much do all of the above but add in Slumber Parties:> We all sleep together in my room (more for my comfort of being alone at night-having the kids near me makes the strange noises a little better)…however I have one sound sleeper who sleeps in the same bed as me and my wiggle worm is on the floor on a mattress but still thinks it is the coolest:>
Long trips are hard and I try to make that time a little special in some way or another (stay up a little later to watch a show or special dessert). Drew’s teacher even asks for dad to send the class a postcard of where he has been-Drew likes that:>
Amy, Using Our Words says
I’m not up for slumber parties (though I did have one this week come 1am), but I love the postcard idea!
I was kidless when I traveled frequently on business, but had I not been, then all of your suggestions would have been absolutely great! When Big gets to the Flat Stanley unit at school, I’m sure he and Lenny will have fun with that during L’s many business travels!
Amy, Using Our Words says
Sounds intriguing…something to look forward to!
I have a suggestion! I learned this from a tv show (where all my brilliant ideas come from!). Have the kids help Lenny pack. Even if it’s just placing his toiletry kit or shoes in the suitcase, everyone has a job and is involved in his travel. Also, take advice from your bedrest entry and accept help from friends/neighbors if you need it. Gifts from Lenny are good, too (but, not for the kids – for you!)
If anyone knows these tricks, it’s you! Yes, help is good. But, when it comes to your other idea, do you know Lenny? There’s a science to the perfectly packed suitcase. Yes, really. I guess he could pretend to let the kids help then redo it all (kinda like I do with setting the table).
And, yes, gifts are welcome. But no key chains or bumper stickers.
Aimee @ everydayepistle.com says
I love these too! What great ideas. We do the slumber parties idea Amy Nelson suggested above, though I sacrifice my own sleep for that one. He kicked inside the womb and now outside, you know. Next time Dad travels, we’ll have to try some of these to see if it makes things go more smoothly.
PS: Is everyone here named Amy or Aimee? 🙂
I’m afraid it’s true. I make it a point to only befriend people named Amy—Aimee, while spelled funny, seems to be ok too. (In fact, until I got married, I always had a roommate named either Amy or Aimee.) Good thing is there are lots of them out there! Glad you’re one of them.