So I go away on Saturday; my first real trip on my own since Grace was born six years ago. Before Grace, my husband and I often took separate holidays and I enjoyed that. I like time away, absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that, but that doesn’t seem to ring true when I think about my baby. I am so anxious about leaving her; not so much in the day when I am all gung ho and filled with excitement about my upcoming trip, but come the evening when I am watching her sleep I am a mess. I am hardly sleeping; partly because my mind is constantly going over the list of things I need to do before I go ( to assuage my guilt I am making it as easy as possible for my husband to care for our daughter while I’m not home – think meals cooked and frozen, clothes laid out for each day) but also because I am spending half the night bargaining with God to keep my little girl safe and not punish me for my selfishness.
It’s daft I know, for some families, regular travel is the norm. I’m sure Victoria Beckham’s kids don’t bat an eyelid when their Mum has to go away for a few days for work; it’s probably what they’ve always known and they’re secure in the knowledge that she always comes back. But for us and for the people around us, it really isn’t the done thing. We take holidays as a family, except for perhaps the odd hen doo (or walking weekend for my husband). I’m breaking the mould going away for a whole week, without my family, purely for fun – just for me. The guilt is a killer. Like I say, I know it’s daft; I work hard and of course I deserve to have some time to myself. My husband is supportive in so much as he hasn’t tried to stop me from going but I know he just doesn’t get why I feel the need to go away without them.
The thing is, even if I did want to take them with me, it just wouldn’t work. My husband isn’t interested in the same things as I am, he thinks I’m weird (I take that as a compliment) and a week at a mindfulness retreat would send him barmy. And I’m not sure how present I’d mange to be with my husband sighing and eye rolling next to me and my daughter asking for junk food every five minutes. This is something that I have to do on my own and hopefully it’ll see me home a better version of myself, which will have a positive impact on the two of them (see, really I’m doing it for them).
I also need a little excitement in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have a great life and I thank God for my blessings every day; it’s just that I’m approaching 40 and there is still so much that I want to do. Life gets in the way sometimes and I forget my ambitions in the business of my daily life. This last year seeing my one of my friends expand (think international travel and more) has made me realise that the world is a very big place and I don’t want to get stuck in my little comfortable bubble. I want to be moving forward, I want to be creating my own excitement and not living through somebody else’s (who needs regular international travel anyway). In a way, she has paved the way, showing me what is possible.
I’m sure this first time will be the hardest; next year (I’m thinking a yoga retreat with Yoga Girl in Aruba) will be a piece of cake. I made the mistake of announcing this to my husband, “what do you mean, next year, I thought this was a one off.” I’m sure that when I am bargaining with God tonight, I will promise that this is a one off and I’ll never leave again if only He keeps my little girl safe. The absurdity of the situation is that she doesn’t care a jot. I told her that I was going away and as I held my breath waiting for her tears; she asked, “why can’t Dad go with you so that I can have a babysitter?”