First World Friday: I’m off to Europe for 3 weeks alone to be fabulous and am feeling sad about it


Today I fly to Copenhagen for three weeks. By myself. As in, no kids.

Some friends made intros, so I have a couple dinners lined up, and a friend from Munich is flying in for a few days at the end of my stay.

Otherwise, the time is mine! I’m doing a house swap, free of charge through the awesome service, with a woman who has a flat there, and will be living in my New York apartment during that time. I plan to ride my host’s bike all over the wold’s greatest biking city, drink Danish beer and dig hard-core into creative projects I’ve neglected and, hopefully, create some memories that are TBD.


The problem?

My kids will not be there. They will be in Greece, with their dad and his family, creating memories of their own.

Thinking of that makes me really, really sad.

“OMG, that is not only every single mom’s dream, it is every MOM’s dream!” my friend Morghan said when I told her of my plans. It’s this single mom’s dream, too! I’m packing my blue Samsonite carryon, had my mail held, and am trying to learn a few Danish words before I touch Danish ground. I’m mustering a good attitude. It’s an awesome opportunity, and I will not squander it.

But it drives home how sad and complicated and divorced family life can be. On one hand, I don’t know too many married moms who feel they can take off for the better part of a month alone, though many tell me they crave it. So, if you have shared visitation like I do, or you have generous parents or siblings who will take your kids for long periods, you get some serious alone time, which is a major perk of single mom life.

But with that comes a parenting experience that is less intense. Getting a much-needed break is one thing, but having major experiences that my kids and I don’t share is another. We will all remember this upcoming vacation for the rest of our lives. But our memories and experiences will be separate.

First world problems, I know. Big-ass first world problems!

But they are sad. And I’m owning that sadness. Until I board my Delta flight in a few hours and order up a vodka tonic and strike up a conversation with whatever fabulous person happens to be seated next to me. Then, when I wake up, I will be in Scandinavia and find my way to my digs, after which I will find a cafe nearby and buy a strong coffee whatever local pastry is on offer.

And then I will choose not to be sad, but to be fabulous. And while I may miss my kids, I will not call them every day, and I will enjoy my adventure, and be grateful my life for what it is.

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