The worst part of traveling

It’s Friday, family movie night. I’m snuggled into the loveseat next to my husband, with my head on his chest and his arm curved around me. The living room looks like a mosh pit, with kids everywhere on chairs and beanbags and sprawled out on the floor. The closing credits are rolling for tonight’s movie, Meet the Robinsons, a movie that manages the right mix of humor and action to be pleasing to the majority of us.

For much of the movie, my 3 year old curled her sweet self into me, contentedly gobbling Halloween candy. Now, as the music plays, suffused with sugar, she is moved to dance in the small popcorn-strewn space that is empty in the center of the room.

“This is how [10 yr old sister] dances!” she calls out while pumping her arms forward and back in a hip-hop style, imitating her sister convincingly enough that there is recognition and laughter around the room.

“How does [20 yr old] dance?” I call out.

The three year old obligingly does graceful ballerina spins around the room, wrists tilted exactly right.

“How about [10 year old brother]?” someone else calls.

The three year old hesitates, but the 6 year old jumps in with a convincing marionette-like dance that sends laughter rustling around the room again. My 13 year old daughter catches my eye and grins, then says something in a voice that sounds suddenly to me like an older girl’s. Growing up, she is.

Our 16 year old son asks his dad a question. John’s voice rumbles under my ear, and I snuggle in deeper. The day is almost done and morning is coming fast. But I want to reside here in this evening a little longer, surrounded by my loved ones.

In the morning come goodbyes.

In the morning I leave for the Dominican Republic.

Our conference call briefing on Thursday left me jazzed, ready. My fellow travelers seem friendly and fun, and the Compassion staff is impressively organized. Our only job there is to experience the work they do and write about it. Compassion takes care of every other detail, right down to bottled water and first aid kits.

I want to go, really I do. I love to travel. I am so eager to see Compassion’s work first hand. I want to experience the country and hug the kids and meet the folks who care for them.

But leaving my family stinks, plain and simple. And tonight that thought is heavy on my heart.

So I’ll sit here a little longer, savoring the feel of my family around me. And I’ll hope that the week goes quickly and smoothly for them, and I’ll pray for safety for all of us. And I’ll pray for the purpose of this trip: to shine a light on the needs of children in the Dominican Republic, and to encourage people to step out on faith and be a part of the solution for kids who need nothing more than a chance.

My travel buddies:
Marlboro Man


Thanks for your prayers and good wishes and for your willingness to spread the word about this trip on your blog. We appreciate your partnership.


  1. Travel safe, my friend!

  2. Have a wonderful trip, Mary – my prayers go with you and all of your companions. You will be forever changed by what you see – and I can’t wait to hear all about it.

  3. I know just what you mean. I love to travel but hate to leave. Love to be there but hate to get there. I sometimes joke that I just need to buy the tickets and plan the trip. Then stay home…..I hate to leave the family!

    But am always glad for the opportunity of the trip too…..

    Godspeed. Travel safely and well! Enjoy and can’t wait to see/hear about it all. M

  4. I know just how you feel. I had those same thoughts last night.

    I’ll see you in Miami tomorrow!

  5. I am going to do more than just read today and tell you my prayers go with all of you. We sponser a little boy in Albania. He is so dear to us. I look forward to hearing all about the work Compassion is doing in the Dominican. God’s blessing and protection on all of you and your families.

  6. Yep–it’s hard to leave, although I am always an eager and willing traveler as well.

    I totally agree about the conference call. I was impressed with how together they were — of course they do this thing all the time.

    And everyone was fun and seemed easygoing, so I know that coming home with new friends will maybe offset a bit of leaving there with a broken heart.

  7. You nailed it. Leaving the family behind is the WORST part of travel.

    I’m praying that, after the good-byes are said tomorrow, you’ll be able to enjoy and live each moment of your time in the DR. I’m also praying that your family will be safe, happy and expectant during your absence.

    God-speed, Mary. I’m looking forward to your reports next week.

  8. I’m so excited for you guys. Can’t wit to live through you vicariously.

  9. Blessings Mary…Vaya con Dios…May God go with you!!! I’ll be praying! The time will go so quickly! Looking forward to reading!
    Thank you for the visit! Glad you had such a good family FUN night that you can hold onto…praying for your family, too!

  10. Praying for you all as you go on the trip. I came from Peggy’s blog.

  11. That’s how I always feel too. Sometimes it almost makes me feel physically sick to my stomach. I always have a great time away and come home refreshed and revived, but it’s so stinkin’ hard to leave.

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