Oct 22, 2009

A Parent's Dream Vacation

It wasn't a full-out lie, just a half-truth. In my blog posting about how much I missed my children during a trip, I neglected the other truth that it felt really good to be away, free, alone.

For a whole week I only had to dress one person. Chose food I felt like eating, when I was hungry. Walked as fast or slow as I felt, stopped at whatever store I felt like, swam uninterrupted laps in the hotel pool. Spent long long days in board meetings talking about societal change and adult stuff without checking the clock for school pick-up time. The first morning I finally threw some whatever clothes on at 1:00 and wandered through Byward Market for half an hour to select the bistro that perfectly suited just my culinary whims of the moment.

Contrast that to a seven-minute space the first morning back home, in which I helped the boys and myself clear the table, wash hands, brush teeth and hair, then find/select-among-options/explain/pack/put-on socks ("They're not matching!"), gloves ("Are they waterproof"), muddy-buddies ("I don't like this kind anymore, i want the ones with no shoulder straps"), jackets ("Will it be warm today?"), hats, helmets, boots, backpacks, snacks, spare socks, bikes (BMX or mountain bike?), pump up bike tires ("Why are skinny tires faster than wide tires?"), and get to the top of the driveway. Each step required an explanation, a negotiation, a frustration, and a focus of energy on what each child was needing.

Life is in the details, and loving our children is no exception. I come home refreshed and ready to embrace my family in all their taxing beauty. But for a whole week away I found the true meaning of the word "vacation." It wasn't a tropical beach or historic tour; it was just a time vacant of taking care of others. A time to stroll along the Rideau Canal singing along with Joni Mitchell, "I was a free man in Paris, I felt unfettered and alive. Nobody calling me up for favours, nobody's future to decide."

1 comment:

  1. Hee hee! Welcome to our child-free world . . . we're relishing every last minute of it :)