Saying goodbye to our four kids this morning wasn’t exactly as I’d envisioned it.

Never is.

In the weeks that had lead to today’s departure I’d imagined giving each child a long hug and a calm, good natured little pep talk about behaving and manners while we are away.

But, oh no.

Our family specializes in wildly stressful, abnormally chaotic and downright maniacal mornings.

As I hurriedly stuffed the last kid into the school bound car, I begged and pleaded with Zachary, who had been patiently seatbelted in the car, to let mid-tantrum Nathan have the beloved window seat.

There was a scuffle.

I slammed the car door shut with crying Nathan perched on top of big brother, crying and refusing to cooperate by moving into the da#*n middle seat. Goodbye. Will miss you.

No, really.

I get it though. Nobody wants the middle seat. I’m currently sandwiched between two full grown male strangers while our aircraft taxis on the runway. My husband, the frequent flier earner, is stretched out comfortably way up there, in personal space a-plenty land.

First Class is the way to travel, if you’re not the one paying. Since this is his business trip, and he is the one with the important meeting immediately upon our arrival in Luassane, Switzerland, I’m letting him have the good seats. Guilt free. However, it’s my turn when we are home bound.

“Prepare for takeoff.”

I’d refused to really believe that this childless European getaway was going to actually happen. When Paul said, “don’t be disappointed if it gets cancelled”, I’d pretty much laughed in his face.

Oh, right.

I’ll march through my daily motherly duties with extra vigor and determination if my Swiss dreams are unexpectedly shattered. So, I’d tried to not get too excited about our potential trip. But, now that we are actually in the air, I think I’m pretty safe in assuming that we’ve successfully escaped.img_1985

Our brave neighbors, God bless them, volunteered to watch our kids for eight days. I’m not sure we’ve ever received a more selfless gift in our lives. We owe them. Big time. Our four, brings their total kid count up to seven.

SEVEN.

In preparation for our departure, I’ve had the five year old in butt-wiping-boot-camp. The goal was for him to be able to wipe his bottom all by himself without using an inordinate amount of toilet paper and clogging the toilet and without calling for backup.

It’s been a struggle.

As the baby of the family, I readily admit I’ve babied him far longer than the rest. Ready or not, time to cut the chord. Both boys have been given personal hair styling instructions. No, Mommy won’t be able to act as your personal daily stylist. It will be amusing to see how they do with this particular task.

All kid’s after school activities have been cancelled during our absence. There’s just no way I could ask someone to duplicate our family’s nutty, over the top juggling act. It will be beneficial for all to just stick with the bare minimum for a week. A week of largely uninterrupted play with their friends on our cul-de-sac.

Nothing but the basics is good for the soul: school and weekend dance rehearsals for the girls. I’ve notified the school, teachers and anyone else I could think of who might need to know. If anyone sees a young Bottiaux looking lost or confused, don’t call us; call their lovely legal guardians.

In the midst of raising a young family, there is really no greater gift than quality time with your spouse. Anything more than a high five in passing with the man I married these days is incredibly rare.

I’m beyond grateful for this amazing opportunity to reconnect with my husband and recharge my low battery. And, as the French speaking Swiss in Switzerland would say; au revoir.