A few weeks ago I started having joint pain in my hands and feet, elbows and hips and knees. It hasn't cleared up and all of the tests available here in Dushanbe have been inconclusive, so I'm flying to London this week to see what the tests and and doctors there can tell me about it.
This means, of course, that Brandon and all six of the children will be left here in Dushanbe to fend for themselves. I have done this to them before, when my brother got married, when Joseph and I went to London, and when I went myself, so they're pretty used to the drill. Our housekeeper is coming daily to come help out and we just got in a new supply of cold cereal so I'm pretty sure that nobody will die while I'm gone. The children are happy because they have reduced school work and Brandon might even look forward to a little easing of the routine, even if it comes at the cost of his personal magic fairy being gone. William, who is weaned and so not coming with me, will probably forget that I existed until I return. When I do he will be so happy to remember that he does in fact have a mother and she didn't mysteriously abandon him.
I little not-so-secret part of me that I wish would be a little more secret is looking forward to a little time by myself. I'm conflicted because this time off is purchased by with Brandon's increased work load (he's already the acting section chief of two sections at the embassy, so the last thing he needs is more work when he gets home) and the children being left without a mother. In order to sleep in, eat out at delicious restaurants, and shop, I have to shuck my very real responsibilities to seven other human beings whose lives depend a lot on me. So even the thought of enjoying, much less openly planning all of the fun things I'm going to do myself feels very, very selfish.
Because, well, I am going to do a lot of fun things. We have foreign service friends from our very first time in Cairo living London, who I've planned a trip to Warwick Castle and an opera with. My brother- and sister-in-law moved to London this summer and I'll catch up with them. And as long as I'm childless, I'm going to go and take a family name to the temple and do every single ordinance, something I've never had the time to do. I've done my research and found a stable to go riding at. And of course, all of the food and shopping. My hotel is, after all, right off Oxford Street, one of the biggest shopping districts in London.
Hopefully my visit will only last a week. Even with all of the playing and fun, anything more than a week away from my family really does get to be unpleasant. I do, after all, love them and enjoy their company. And I'm pretty sure that Brandon will be counting down the days even before I get on the airplane. I am, after all, his very favorite person in the whole wide world. It's good to know that I'll be missed. And it's also nice to have the chance to be missed.