I'm currently gearing up for a week away in Rio, Brazil (I felt I had to specify the country 'Brazil' as opposed to the cinema Rio, which is what comes up first when you google 'Rio' - SERIOUSLY, GOOGLE?). I'm not off frolicking on the Copacabana (as Barry Manilow would suggest) but heading there for Stop the Traffik's Global Gathering. A week of learning, sharing, planning, devising, connecting with leaders from all over the world that are working with Stop the Traffik to counteract human trafficking and develop strong activism approaches in their respective countries. To say it's the opportunity of a lifetime would be an understatement. I can't wait to hear the stories of communities all over the globe that are tackling this issue and share what is happening here on the ground in Northern Ireland. Even more glad am I to be travelling with my wonderful pal, Gemma. The itinerary for the week looks incredible and jam-packed so when the conference finishes on Friday, Gem and I are hanging around for a day or two to soak in the city (anyone been? Top tips?) and begin to process the events of the week over a cocktail or two, I imagine.
The thing is, gratitude aside - it is WELL hard to consider leaving my family for a whole week.
I'm lucky enough to have a really supportive, hands-on (oooh err) husband who barely hesitated to urge me on when the opportunity first arose. I'm not nervous in the slightest about Levi being in good hands or that life won't possibly go on without me. I reckon the bed won't get made all week and Levi's intake of vegetables might waver a bit but good gravy, I will miss my boys.
I know it's normal to feel this way but this last week I have been on super-stalker-mother-mode with Levi; staring at him while he eats, sleeps, plays - drinking in all his little ways so I can have a full reel of images to play in my mind when I'm away. His big baby belly, his cheeky teethy smile, his fuzzy hair (crazy after naps), his builders bum (now that he wears big boy pants), his chubby fingers, sturdy little legs. It would be fair to say I am potentially smothering him. He knows I'm going to Rio on a big plane, we show him where it is on his globe and he tells me "we facetime mummy" (waahhhh!). I think he sort of gets it.
Although it will be insanely hard to be away and I'll be driving Dave crazy needing minutiae-detailed updates of their day I do feel like it's important to me that Levi knows that I have a job that I love and that the work that I do is meaningful. I want him to grow up seeing his parents do honest work that fulfills them and challenges them and I'm grateful to my folks for doing that for me. And a week will fly by, right?
I'm excited. I'm nervous. I'm excnervous. Here goes!
(and yes, that is a picture of my two year old filing my nails. I have no idea how he figured out how to do that)