Like most people who enjoy travel, I count down the days to departure with increasing glee. My last day at work before my time off begins feels just like the last day of school before summer vacation.
But, without fail, the night before we steal away – whether it’s for a weekend in Toronto or two weeks in Italy – my heart starts aching.
Our cat, Storm, is our baby. I swear her face changes as soon as she sees us pull out our luggage. She looks concerned and anxious and I start feeling the guilt. I know it’s silly, but I go out of my way to keep her from seeing my bag or the actual packing. You should see me “sneaking” around so she won’t “catch” me. It’s okay, laugh at me. It’s just as ridiculous as it sounds.
I feel guilty all night, and Zeke tells me – repeatedly – that Storm will be fine. I know she’ll be fine. We always have someone stopping by to see her and make sure she has everything she needs (which amounts to attention, food, water and a clean litter box). Still, my heart literally hurts.
The alarm goes off and it’s time to finish getting ready and get out the door, and I can’t even look Storm in the face. I tell her over and over that we love her and we’ll be home “soon” (she can’t tell time, I know that much).
There’s another pang of guilt as we close the door and lock it. All the way to the car, Zeke tells me she’s fine and I tell him I know.
And you know what? He’s right.
When we get home, Storm is usually a little extra attentive (needy) for a few days, but there don’t seem to be any lasting mental or physical effects. She’s our sweet girl and we’re a loving, complete family until the next time the luggage appears.