I Left My Heart in Omaha


Travel with kids.  

It’s one of those phrases that evokes an emotion in nearly everyone.  Maybe laughter, maybe tears, but everyone knows those two words can go together like nails on a chalkboard.

Sure it’s fun showing our kids the world, but traveling with them brings new meaning to the word “adventure”. My son Henry (who is a never-napper) reverts back to his 11 month-old-self and adds ’not sleeping at night’ to his repertoire. “Vacation” is always fun, but never relaxing.

Our family recently took two trips on back-to-back weekends.  One trip with our son, one trip without.  Perfect blog post material, right?  When I first decided these back to back trips would be the subject of my first blog post I already had a rough idea of what I’d write about. The humorous differences between flying with a toddler (YAY!) versus enjoying a mini road trip alone with your husband. The perks of carrying a purse instead of a diaper bag the size of Texas. Sleeping through the night (need I say more?!). But, like motherhood, things don’t usually go as planned.

Instead, Henry had two great flights, an awesome time in Chicago visiting family and friends, and an iffy sleep schedule (I’ll take two out of three). 

Mommy (without baby) on the other hand…

…was not quite a train wreck, but certainly did not do as well as her offspring.

My husband, Alex, and I were gone for a full 36 hours (12 of those spent driving to and from). It probably doesn’t seem like a lot. Honestly before we left it didn’t seem like a long time.  But I missed two full days of fun with my Henry. Two days of playing with mud, water, trucks and trains. Two days of mess. Two breakfasts, lunches and dinners. 

And here’s what I missed the most.  Every morning Henry and I start our day off (at the crack of dawn) by reading stories and eating “cookies” (animal crackers) and milk. It’s a slow start to our morning and I relish the extra snuggles on the couch.

This past week Henry was snuggled up in my arms while I was reading (probably a book about trains) to him. My arm was wrapped around him with my hand resting on his heart. I told him I could feel his heart beating and put my other hand on top. Henry put his hands over my hands and rested his chin on our embrace. We sat there for minutes. I could feel the smile on his face. Moments later Henry puts his hand on my heart, then he rests his head on my chest to listen to my heart beat and sighs.

My heart is in his chest, and his in mine.

PC :: Kelly Bentley Photography

Thinking about that memory was the moment I realized I had left my heart in Omaha.  

I generally consider myself a fun, easy-going kind of girl which is what this blog post was supposed to be.  I don’t usually like to get too caught up with the mushy stuff, and I certainly don’t BLOG about it (mainly because I’ve never written a blog before).  This was supposed to be a fun, relaxing get away!  Instead what I discovered was the most CLICHÉ deep longing for my child. Seriously, that hollow feeling in your chest… I felt it! A feeling I haven’t felt before because up to that point, I’d never left Henry for more than a few hours.

There are times that all this “togetherness” can feel like it’s a little much. There are moments I feel like I’d trade anything (except my husband and kid!) for a pedicure and a lunch out with the girls. But I was blessed/cursed with a strong case of Henry FOMO. I’m always worried about what I’m missing when I’m gone. I can’t tell you how many times my husband has offered to take Henry out for the afternoon. So I can head to the spa, go shopping, anything… sounds great, right? But I’m always too consumed with what I’ll miss. I never go. I can’t.

As moms how do we find a balance? 

How do we balance the FOMO with enough time for ourselves?

I don’t know…. But, if I do find out you’ll be the first to find out.

Hi, I’m Catherine.  I’m a transplant—I’m not from Omaha. But this weekend I realized my heart is completely in this city. My heart is in my home. More specifically, my heart is in my son.


  1. Catherine, I can relate. When my children were infants, especially, and someone asked to hold one of them, I was so torn. I wanted to share, sometimes my arms and back needed the break, but everytime I handed them over, I had an immediate feeling of regret. I wanted my baby back!
    In my experience, it did get easier as they got older. Seems to me that so much of motherhood is learning to let go. Not all at once, of course, but little by little.

  2. The balance that you speak of happened for me without sanctioning it. When my children moved out they took part of my heart with them. It’s as painful as you would imagine heart surgery to feel. Even now when I plan vacations, I would rather take the children, ages 5-36 years, with us than them home. Great post.

  3. This pulls on my heart strings! It’s remarkable the attachment we get to our little ones! And motherhood changes in such a drastic way; I feel like we don’t even look the same! Thanks for putting into words that deep maternal longing and FOMO away from our children!

  4. What a gorgeous post! My husband and I recently left our three kids and two dogs with my in-laws. I knew they were having so much fun (and so was I), but there is nothing better than the smiles, snuggles, and hugs when you get back. Loved this, Catherine!

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