Wednesday, 20 August 2014

GREAT EXPECTATIONS...AND SURPRISE REALISATIONS

A few weeks ago my husband and I took our first official international trip away together… without our two small kids.

Look kids, two hands!
I feel the need to write that final line once again… without our kids… because of the weight that it carries, or rather, doesn’t carry. Do you know what I’m talking about? The lightness of travelling without prams, nappy bags, toys, bottles, and so on and on and on. And then there’s the screaming… well, the only screams were mine, screams of joy, as I sipped champagne at the airport, with two hands, all to myself!!!

We drifted through the flight, read books, watched movies, napped, even… had. a. conversation. Insane!!!
We swam, we lazed, we loved every moment!

Then there was the destination itself. We slept till we woke naturally. We wore white clothes without the need for several changes throughout the day from food, poo, vomit, dirt and other unidentified substances.

We drank cocktails. We had lazy long lunches. We spoke with other human beings for more than ten seconds without interruption.

This is me in paradise (Vanuatu) still using my two hands
And we missed our monsters like crazy. It was the longest four days of my life. I cried when we called them. I thought of them constantly. My heart ached for them. We searched for awesome little presents for them all day long. We practically bolted through the airport upon arrival home to throw ourselves back into their arms.

That was the trip without kids.

And then, last week, I foolishly attempted a trip of a different kind – with an outcome I could NEVER have expected.

Hubby was in Germany for work. I decided to seize the opportunity to visit my gorgeous Mum, who happens to live on the NSW Mid North Coast in a seaside sleepy sunny village called Sawtell. It also happens to be a seven hour drive from Sydney. When you consider I did this drive as a solo adult, with a one year old, a three year old and our two dogs, it was more like taking seven years off my life.

I was also attempting a detox. No alcohol, caffeine, carbs, sugar, dairy… or anything delicious or calming for the nervous system. I had a grilled chicken salad at McDonalds. It was HELL!!!!!!!!!!

All calm at the beach with Granny
When we drove into the driveway at my folks, the first thing they said was “darling, have a glass of wine” and the second thing they said was “there’s no way you’re driving back.”

The week was beautiful. Sunshine, swims, reading books, making sand castles, listening to old tunes, mum’s cooking, walks on the beach, day trips to the Butterfly House and nearby rivers in lush rainforests.

Grandma with Frenchie at the Pet Porpoise Pool
And then there were my kids. My youngest may have been teething, out of her routine, frustrated at not being able to do as much as her sister, going through a clingy faze, a tad snotty, missing her Dad, having a growth spurt, constipated, or all of the above, but for whatever reason, she was hell on wheels!!! Screamed, wanted to be held, constantly, screamed some more, cried, whinged, a tornado of destruction. She broke me.

This was hands down one of the hardest weeks of my parenting existence… and my life to date. I was in tears daily. I took long walks on the beach simply to calm down and learn to breathe again. I was a bundle of anxiety and stress on what should have been a really enjoyable, calm and grounding week.

And it was on this trip that I told my husband via skype in Germany that my previous desire to one day down the track expand our family to three kids, was now 100 per cent out the window. Along with my alcohol free diet.

This was actually a big decision for me. It wasn’t about my longing for another beautiful little cherub of a baby. Of course I would love that. There’s nothing better. But this was about my belief in myself as to whether or not I would be capable of being a good parent to another little cherub of a baby. And the outcome, from deep in my heart was no. I was done. Spent. Capput.

And so, as we boarded that plane to come home, with my step dad driving our car and the dogs the seven hour journey back to Sydney for me (world’s greatest man!!!) I thanked the gods for my two magnificent children (who only screamed for the entire duration of the one hour flight home) and I thanked the gods for the journey that helped me reach such an important conclusion.

We never know what the outcomes will be from our travels. We often have such expectations, or fantasies about our trips away, with or without our kids. But they are so rarely met. The one thing I do know is, I never lose appreciation for home and for that feeling of unity when we walk back in the door, safe, healthy, together, wiser and grateful.





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