It looks like I really am going to get to go to Spain next month. I think. I know this is disgusting and unbelievable, but I don’t have to pay for my flight. Hotel is covered, too. I have friends who firmly believe that I need a vacation, a real one, and they are in a position to make this happen for me. I’m really, really, really lucky.
So, I’ve got my Lonely Planet travel book, I’m already taking a million photos and walks through amazing places in the daydreams I have while driving the kids to school or flossing my teeth. (I floss, so should you. It’s important.)
This morning, Willow climbed into bed with us before the sun came up. She had on her footie dinosaur pajamas and was holding one of her little stuffed animal dogs. She wasn’t crying, but she was all wobbly and her hair was in her face. She pushed it out of the way with her one free hand and said, "Hi, Mom." Then she got in bed next to me, put her hand on my cheek and kissed me. "I’m fweeeeeezing," she said as she scootched under the blankets. She likes to sleep next to me and for my arm to be under the back of her neck, holding her. "Arms around you," she said, and then closed her eyes and went back to sleep.
She woke me up a couple of hours later. It’s a terrible thing to lay in bed when the sun is up, at least for her. "It’s morning, Mom. Get up." So, I did and we went into the bathroom. She was still holding her little dog, and now she also had a very old powder brush. A million years ago, I wore make up. Every day. I used to use loose powder, and the brush is the kind with a big handle that’s weighted so it’ll stand up on the counter with the brush part in the air. The brush is really full and soft, and Willow likes to brush her dogs with it and run it over her arms and face. She handed me the dog and the brush then unzipped her jammies so she could pee. She pulled herself up onto the toilet and scratched the sides of her hips where her undies had left marks in her skin. "Can we go to the ice cream store?" No, I said, they aren’t open yet. "Is the park open, den? Can we go to da park?" In a little while. She looked at me and said she loved me and all I could think was I can’t possibly go on this trip.
But, she is so damn cute. She just is. I feel like it wouldn’t be right for her to come to my bed before dawn and have me be eight hours ahead of her and thousands of miles away. Across a whole country and an ocean. I just didn’t want to go.
I’m really interested in how biology influences the way we parent. In instincts and hormones and reflexes. Like how if I’m in public and a newborn is crying for more than a minute or two, I get uncomfortable. Physically uncomfortable; my body is telling me to go take care of that baby. When I look at my kids, I think it’s impossible that anyone anywhere ever loved another person so much. That is a real feeling, but it’s inspired by this instinct I have to take care of my children — it’s rooted in the part of me that thinks only in terms of being a mother, of protecting, of caring. Right now, my instincts are crossways with my wants. The result is that I panic about going. I feel really, horribly guilty.
I’m going to go on this trip. I am scared, more than I can ever recall be scared by anything, when I think about the flight. I might drink myself into a coma on the plane and hope I end up in the right place. I think, though, that it’s not actually the plane that has me so nervous. I think it’s that I’m totally going against that little voice that tells me I shouldn’t go so far away. The voice that says, what if something happens and you aren’t here? what if something happens and you can’t come home? what if what if what if. . . you should stay home.
I’ve never done anything like this before. Everyone I talk to is so supportive. My mom, especially, says that I absolutely MUST go, no matter what comes up or how impossible it might seem. And, I really do want to go. I have taken a weekend here and there to go visit family without my kids, but that isn’t like this. This is about me going away and having a few days that are just mine. A few days that aren’t defined and ordered by so many other people. It’s like traveling back in time and it’s totally going to move me forward.