On the road again…

I don’t usually write about my “real” job on here. Not because it’s not interesting, but because it usually doesn’t effect my life as a single mom. I go to work, I get to be a grownup for 8 hours, then I go home and be mom again. But, this week, my job is overlapping with my duties as mom.

I leave Monday morning to go to Guatemala for 8 days!
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UPAVIM is located in La Esperanza, an impoverished community located in Zone 12 of Guatemala City

I’m totally freaking out. The longest I’ve ever been apart from Boo Boo is 2 nights, and I cried myself to sleep the second night because I missed him so much. I’m so excited about this trip (more about that in a minute) but it’s overshadowed by all the anxiety I feel about leaving. It’s got me thinking about so many issues I’ve been putting off for so long. Like, I don’t have a will. I don’t even have a legal custody agreement! Boo Boo’s father has never asked to see him or attempted to be involved in our lives in any way, so it’s never really seemed necessary to go through the hassle of a legal custody fight. Not to mention the legal fees that would be involved. (I have no idea if he would fight me on it or not. He hates me, so I could totally see him refusing to agree to my terms, just out of spite.)

Now that I’m leaving the country, and actually traveling to an area that is not particularly safe, I am overwhelmed by the idea that if something happened to me, I don’t know what would happen to Boo Boo. Another reason I’ve put off writing a will and dealing with the legal aspects of this situation is that I honestly don’t  know who I would leave Boo Boo with in the event that I was unable to care for him. I mean, my parents and both of my sisters would love him and care for him unconditionally, so there is nothing to worry about in that aspect. But, each has limitations in their ability to take on another child.

My parents are financially and responsibly, the best choice to care for him. We lived with my parents until just a few months ago and Boo Boo is very, very close to them. But, they are  obviously older and physically I think would be overwhelmed with full-time care of a 5 year old. Plus, they finally have all their kids out of the house, it would be a huge life change for them to take on a child again. I also think Boo Boo would be very lonely. My youngest sister would be a great choice in that they live close to my parents and Boo Boo already spends a lot of time with them. He is very close with his cousins and I know my sister would love him like her own. But, she and her husband are financially not in a position to take on another child and it’s not like I have any money to leave them to help on that end! My other sister and her husband are probably the most logical choice. Her husband is in the army so financially they are the most stable and able to take on another child. But I worry so much about the instability of army life, and because they don’t live locally, Boo Boo spends the least amount of time with them right now. If something happened to me, I think stability would be so important for him and uprooting his life to move to a different state or even a different country would be so hard on him.

Okay, now I’m going to cry just thinking about this. But, now you understand why I haven’t ever dealt with this before. I can tell you one thing for certain. If something happened to me, I know Boo Boo would be well taken care of and loved by his entire family. And I know if it ever came to it, they would fight with every penny they have to keep him away from his emotionally stunted, absentee father. But please, God, do not ever let that happen.

Okay, so back to my trip! I am so excited to travel again! I was so lucky to live in Germany for a few years before Boo Boo was born and really got the travel bug in my blood I think. If I could, I would spend the rest of my life traveling around the the world. Parenthood has put a bit of a crimp on my finances and I’ve been pretty stationary for the past 5 years. Although I am going to miss Boo Boo with every fiber of my being, I am also sooo ready to get back out there in the world. For 8 days, I will be responsible only for me. My life will revolve around what I want to do and I can go places and do things that do have to be child friendly and I don’t have to worry about a babysitter. For 8 days I will be an independent woman again!!!

The organization I work for, called UPAVIM Crafts, is based in Guatemala City. We sell fair trade products made by a women’s cooperative in a community called La Esperanza. This community is plagued by poverty, violence, gangs and other atrocities that as Americans, we cannot ever fully comprehend. UPAVIM stands for “unidas para vivir mejor,” and translates to “united for a better life.” The UPAVIM complex in Guatemala houses not only the crafts division where the artisans make the beautiful products we sell, but also a bakery, a soy production facility, a daycare center, a Montessori preschool, an English language primary school, a tutoring center, a library, and volunteer housing. I am so honored to be able to visit and meet the women who work there.

I will be writing about my trip on the UPAVIM blog, if you would like to read about my adventures be sure to check it out!