And that is, I can never really, truly, be alone anymore.
I've traveled a fair share in my life. More than many. Less than some. One of the last times I can vividly remember strolling through the Denver airport is after I returned from living a year abroad, in Poland, teaching English. After that massive adventure in my life, I was headed to Boulder to meet up with my dude, (yep, that dude), and as I walked down a long corridor to finally see him again, I was alone. Just me. In my head. In my heart. In my life. In the world.
I remember on my very first solo international trip, I was 22-years-old sitting on some beach rocks of some coastal town in Italy and I thought to myself, I am so alone. No one knows exactly where I am or what I am doing. I was kicking back at some pinpoint on the globe and no one but me knew where that point was.
And that feeling was invigorating to me. It was freedom. True freedom. It was ultimate choice. There were no expectations put upon me to behave a certain way or stay in a specific kind of lodging or do something that supposedly "fit" my personality.
It was that feeling of unencumbered freedom that inspired me to spend a year of my life in a small village in the southwest corner of Poland. A year filled with spontaneous travel adventures to exotic places where around every corner a brand new experience was waiting to spin my head and fill my soul. And it is that feeling that keeps me addicted to the thought of travel.
But this past Tuesday in the Denver airport, it struck me that, although I was taking big deep breaths reveling in being by myself on my very own adventure, I was really not alone. And the feeling I had experienced prior in my travels was never to be had in the same way ever again.
And that is because I am a mother.
Whether with them physically or not, my kids are with me. The world is different now that they are in it. My head is different. My heart is changed. I used to explore the planet with a singular mindset - mine. And that is no longer possible.
There is an invisible tie keeping us close no matter the distance. Will it ever go away? As they get older creating their own lives and they take to the skies for their own adventures? I think not. This change in me is profound and lifelong.
I am a mother.
And I will never ever be alone again.