This morning, I found that wouldn't be necessary, and took myself off high alert. So that's all right then.
A lot flew through my mind in a very short space of time, though. I've never left the children overnight, not even for one night, not even when giving birth to the second one - we were only at the birthing center for five hours or so before we came back again with a brand new baby. I've flown with my children plenty of times, but I've never flown without them. That would be a totally new experience.
My initial reaction, of course, when the possibility was raised, was "Noooo! I can't! It's impossible!" Because I am a planner who fears change, especially change that comes quickly. I don't much like surprises, either. All the reasons why I couldn't crowded down on me: Mabel can't get to sleep without me; everyone has a cough and might be getting sick; Halloween; Mabel's birthday; B can't cook; B doesn't know that they have to go to the bathroom before dance class and I might forget to tell him; I'm tired...
In the brief periods last night in between Mabel-waking no.1 (quick and easy), Dash needing to be shepherded to the bathroom because he'd had three last drinks of water, and Mabel-waking no. 2 (prolonged and terrible), I couldn't fall asleep because my brain was busy outlining all the things that would need to be done, all the things that would make it impossible, and all the things I would need to remember; as well as all the things I wasn't looking forward to or didn't know about once I would get there.
But I cannot tell a lie: some of my thoughts drifted in other directions. What would it be like to catch a plane on my own? Could I just bring a carry-on? Should I invest in a decent pair of black trousers to look respectable and not like a harried mother of two caterwaulers? Should I bring my black boots? Might I, perhaps, pick up a neat little backpack with a padded section that would hold my laptop in REI before I left?
Would I be able to steal wi-fi from my parents' neighbours if I asked them very nicely, assuming there was some signal I could pick up from the house, if I was staying there? Should I actually put some books on my under-employed Kindle, because I'd have a lot of time on my hands in airports? How would I cope with all that free time compounding the guilt of leaving B to cope with everyone for four whole days? And four whole bedtimes and four whole (long, long) nights?
Of course, B would be fine. He's known these children just as long as I have, and loves them just as much, and if his culinary skills are lacking it's only due to my own orneryness in not wanting to share my kitchen, and he's perfectly capable of making pasta and opening a tin of baked beans, and he scrambles a mean egg to boot.
What's more, when I floated the idea to the children yesterday afternoon, Dash was fine with it straight away. Mabel was resistant at first, but after an hour or so mulling it over she was already telling me how she'd draw me a picture to take with me and how she'd go to bed nicely for Daddy. It would probably be a huge turning point in her sleeping/weaning.
So this morning when it turned out I didn't need to go at all, my feelings were just a tiny bit mixed.
Mostly I was relieved, of course. Relieved that the emergency was not really an emergency after all, that the sky hasn't fallen just yet. Happy that I didn't have to run round like a headless chicken booking a ridiculously expensive last-minute flight and trying to stock up the fridge with easily prepared food and writing excessive lists of information. Very pleased not to be trying to predict when exactly this incoming hurricane of ours would be making transAtlantic flights at best unpleasant or else totally unviable.
Suddenly, my life looked laughably easy. I could think about Halloween costumes! I could continue to plan Mabel's birthday party! I could clean the toilets! (Yes, really, for one fleeting moment I almost thought that.)
But then, I would quite like a cute little backpack with a padded space for my laptop. Maybe for Christmas.