I was preparing to fly out of town for a memorial. In and of itself, that made my trip last weekend feel like an emotionally big trip. To add to the feelings, this was the first time I had left either of my boys over night. While my husband travels frequently on his own, I don’t.
The latter factor felt both liberating and a trifle worrying. A weekend on my own. A weekend to mourn. A weekend to celebrate. A weekend to reflect. A weekend to be.
Overall, I felt fairly excited about my trip. I was looking forward to reconnecting with long-time friends. Of course, there was sadness mixed in, but it felt right to travel to the memorial to say goodbye.
So I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of emotions as I started to pack my bag.
I planned to pack very minimally: two blouses, underclothes, pajamas, and toiletries. I’d wear the same pants. I would carry a sweater. It would be light and easy.
Then I started thinking of a bunch of possibilities. I was heading to a big city. That means I should probably bring a skirt and blouse (Boulder is extremely casual, even for the Western USA). That meant that I also needed to bring a dressier pair of shoes.
I was going to be walking all over the city, using my feet and public transportation to get around. I would probably be happiest if I could do those long walks while wearing my sneakers instead of in my loafers.
I am really good at spilling food on my clothes. I should probably bring a spare sweater in case I took out the first one.
Suddenly, I was planning to bring 3 pairs of shoes (one on my feet; two in my bag) and a several more clothing items than I had initially envisioned. I had gifts (books, of course) to pack for the children of two of my friends. My small bag was no longer going to hold everything.
So I pulled out my carry-on suitcase. I laughed at myself for bringing so much on a weekend trip, yet I knew my energy was better spent supporting myself through all of the big emotions I was bound to face than in trying to pare down the number of items I carried with me.
There are times to be minimalist. And then there are times to give yourself grace and pack a full suitcase. This was a full suitcase sort of trip. In that grace, I allowed my mind to tend to and focus on the more important matters ahead.
This was a big weekend. Perhaps it also called for a big bag.
And while I didn’t end up using the extra stuff I brought along with me, I finished the weekend glad that I had tended to my heart rather than worried about my suitcase.