This is how it would go:
[No more than 2 days before she had to leave, so I didn't have too much time to freak]
Mom: Ali, I'm going to be going on a trip to Nevada.
Me: [already crying at the word trip] when?
Mom: I'm going to leave Monday morning before you wake up but I will be back Thursday night before soccer.
Me: [bawling my eyes out] please mom no. Can you ask [her boss] if you can do a conference call? Tell him you can't go.
Mom: I have to go Ali but I will be back before you know it.
For the days leading up to her leaving I would cry at random times & make her pinky promise to call me no more than 10 minutes after she landed at her destination. (something my dad HATED because if she was one minute late I was a total hot mess.) Oh & sometimes I would even become physically sick. Those were the best times though because usually, she would end up not going.
This spontaneous combustion (AKA: random bawling my eyes out) would continue the whole time she was gone, at school, at day care, anywhere. & when she returned you can guarantee that she never went to the bathroom, shopping or even took a shower without me being in a 10 ft. radius. I can remember her saying one christmas, "Ali how am I supposed to get you presents if I can never go shopping alone?" I agreed to let her go that time.
After about a year of this, of not being able to drop me off at school without freaking out & the final straw, hitting the babysitter when she was trying to console me after both parents had left on a trip, I had to go see a therapist.
I was diagnosed with Separation Anxiety of the worst kind.
Eventually, (around 5th grade) I finally conquered the anxiety.
You see, I no longer freak out when my mom goes on trips & sometimes I even stay home alone while she is gone for days at a time but I have to be honest and say that there is not a time that she goes on a trip for days at a time & my stomach doesn't drop just a little.
For a minute, the re-occurring thoughts that I had when I was younger, (will she ever come back? What will I do if she doesn't come back? Will I find my hair brush without her? ha!) flutter back into my tummy. The difference between then & now though is that now I can rationalize & tell myself that of course she will come back. That's what I tell myself.
Here's the deal though: I'M GOING TO COLLEGE IN 2 WEEKS!!
& you know how I said I can push those thoughts out of my head & rationalize? Well, I'm struggling with that. Am I the only one?? I know that going to college is going to be a blast. I know that I'm on the way to the rest of my life. I know that I definitely don't want to live in this house for the rest of my life. I know that I have an awesome roommate & that for pete's sake, I'm only one hour from home.
Still though, when I think about moving away, my stomach does some back handsprings. I just wonder if I will ever grow out of Separation Anxiety or Anxiety itself??
Good, bad or indifferent, I'm going & I refuse to be Debby Downer so I'm putting on a brave face and trucking right through it.
Nothing good comes easily, right?
(oh, another crazy thing about this?? I am babysitter for the world. Seriously probably 30 or more families since I started 6 years ago. & the hardest thing about babysitting for me is when a child is crying because their parent left. All of my feelings return & I just want to sit & cry. I can totally feel their pain.)