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I'm Scared to Travel Without My Kids

Photograph by Twenty20

I've heard that the first step to coping with a problem is to admit that you have a problem. OK. Here it is:

I'm now scared to travel without my kids.

Seeing those words in print seems so weak and pathetic. But there they are. There's my admission. There's my first (hopeful) step.

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I've never felt this way until this last year. This isn't like me. I was the chick who loved to ride the New York subways, savored lunches by myself and never had any issue leaving my kids with a babysitter or a grandma so that my husband and I could get out of town for a few days. I'd like to say the world's current state of terrifying affairs and unrest have nothing to do with my feelings, but unfortunately I can't say that.

Admitting fear is intimidating and humanizing, which is why I'm trying to own up to how I really feel, regardless of how politically-incorrect it is.

Paris' horrific tragedy has made all of us feel so many despicable and devastating things. It has also pushed me into being honest with myself. Just last month I traveled to New York for work—for a crazy-big opportunity that I was jumping around my kitchen giggling about a few days before I left—but I was simultaneously petrified. In an effort to put my mind at ease, I packed a few handmade crosses made from palm leaves and blessed by my church. I also said very determined prayers in my head the night before my trip, on the plane, in the car to my hotel room and on and on that asked to get me to my destination and back home again safely and soundly until I was actually back home safely and soundly.

I felt crazy. And that was before Paris. (I have a feeling all of us might feel a bit crazy these days?) The world is more dangerous and volatile than we can ever come close to understanding or having some sort of control over, and as a mom that shakes me and haunts me. I'm scared. For all of us. Frequently. Every time I go somewhere or drop my kids off. And I hate it. Hate. It.

I know, I know. Stay strong. Don't let fear win. That's what "they" want. As much as I am not interested in giving in, I have to be honest with myself so that I can make an extra effort to think clearly and make sound decisions. I have to be honest so that I can fight the fear.

Is this trip really worth it? Is this trip really necessary?

Yes. No. I don't know.

But what if ... WHAT IF. Why all the crazy thoughts?

Don't think about it. Live life. Be strong.

Will I be planning any of my bucket list vacations anytime soon? Nope. Will I ever plan any of them, and will my husband and I ever take that postponed and long-overdue trip overseas to relive our pre-kids trip to Italy many years ago? I don't know. There are precious children in the picture now. Will I ever travel again? Most likely, yes. But that doesn't mean I will necessarily approach it with a calm heart.

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Admitting fear is intimidating and humanizing, which is why I'm trying to own up to how I really feel, regardless of how politically-incorrect it is. Because admission is often said to be the first step to coping with any kind of fear, no matter how threatening that fear may be. And we have no choice but to be honest and cope ... for our kids' sake. So I will try.

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