“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” ~ Albert Schweitzer
As I said in my last post, I took a week off for a little TLC. Well, I am back now and happy to report that it was so much more than a little TLC. KSP and I had a unique opportunity to go with a small group of friends to a friend’s family boat in the Bahamas for 6 days. To say it was awesome and wonderful would be to understate what an amazing time we had. We laughed, swam, ate, read, laughed more, jet skied, scuba dived, went deep sea fishing, kayaked and played my all time favorite sport, volleyball on our very own beach, and laughed some more. It may seem a bit odd that we decided to go away for so long as I often type about my fears, concerns, worries about our babies, but in the end, that is precisely why when our wonderful friends invited us, we eagerly asked KSP’s sister to watch the kids, said yes, and I promptly started having major anxiety attacks about leaving for so long. I might as well have been in the early stages of pregnancy as I was constantly nauseous about the idea, but at the same time excited by the idea of what I knew would be so amazing and good for me and me and KSP and to top it all off, I couldn’t even blog about it because in this day and age, I subscribe to the “you can’t be too careful and telling people you are out of town may not be the best idea” mentality. So, after much consult with my sister, mom, dad, and friends I started planning and took with me many good pieces of advice which I cycled through regularly so I wouldn’t be eaten up by the sadness I anticipated in leaving my babies. Here are a few of the keepers, which I would recommend to others who battle the same issues when leaving their, 4 month old or 4 year old:
– “A happy mommy and daddy makes a happy family.”
– “You cannot miss this trip, it is indescribable and only comes along every few years”.
– “It’s important to set a good example for E and Q of what people do in a healthy marriage”
– “It’s good quality time for other family members to spend with the babies”
– “Little ones have no concept of time, so it will be when you get back that you may experience more of the effects”
– “You have been in crisis mode for the past 19 months, it’s time to take a break”
So after nearly 2 years of saying “I got it, I got it, I got it!” in our lives as it related to our kids, doctors, insurance companies, pharmacies, medical care, treatments, relationships, daily life, etc. I finally got to let go for 6 days and just have some plain old fun. To say the transition was natural would be not entirely true as I realized I truly did have a low voltage anxiety level constantly humming in my chest, but with the help of a remarkable group of people I got to really reconnect with who I am and it was fantastic. An on-going joke amongst the group was my propensity when we were playing volleyball to yell “I got it, I got it, I got it!”. Having played volleyball for years this was entirely natural for me, and to everyone else in the game it was probably a bit over the top, but the parallels are quite visible when I look at how I have been living the last few years. Now that I am home again, with what I can only describe as feeling a bit like an alien acclimating to the earth’s atmosphere (I mean honestly, noone made me a delicious breakfast, made my laugh with liquid coming out of my nose or spitting our my food or drink with laughter (equally attractive), had the decency to offer me a fruity beverage or asked me if I was planning to take the boat, kayak of jet ski to the island all before 11 am ~ traumatizing:)), I have been able to take in stride the past 48 hours which has included:
one emergency trip to the doctor for Q with a suspected penis infection, extreme teething fussiness, a severely constipated and screaming E, which also resulted in a trip to the GI, more screaming crying, Q suffering separation anxiety from Nanna H (my personal highlight), 2 screaming and crying babies last night just before bedtime, my phone breaking, a blackberry going on the fritz and losing my parking ticket at the mall while getting my phone fixed that ended up with several angry drivers behind me at the exit machine while I frantically searched for the missing ticket when I was finally saved by a mall attendant who just let me go and of course I subsequently found the ticket in my pocket later this evening – JUST AWESOME).
But rather than the very and all too familiar sensation of teetering on an edge of something, I laughed, soothed (myself and the babies), I just rolled along…less tense, less anxious, less on the verge of tears or a meltdown, a pleasant change.
More strikingly and what I did not expect, but have loved in the past 48 hours since getting home, is that my new ability to let go a bit, has also give me the ability to be different with my babies. Perhaps it’s their changes as well, but E is playing more, and I am playing with her more. Tonight, she anticipated me as I came into tickle her and she would giggle over and over as I said “mama’s gonna tickle you E”. Then as we played on the floor and leaned in close and played with her, she watched me, and looked in my eyes for 30 seconds as I talked to her in a playful voice (this is the longest she has done this and felt as if earth shifted beneath my knees). We played a lot in the last 48 hours. I let her play with me without the veil of “this is what we do every day”. As for Mr. Q, he too seems to have forgiven me for leaving him and has spent most of this evening kissing me every chance he gets and by kiss I mean leaning toward me with an open mouth which is just about the cutest thing ever. The kisses, like those I give him, seemed to be evenly distributed. My lips, head, cheek, knee and whatever else was handy. I got to see them as everyone else sees them for even just a day. As you know, I treasure my children, but with that has come constant worry, and although I know that won’t end, taking care of myself has allowed for me to evolve so that I can also worry just a little less.
So, no matter if you are a parent who hasn’t been away from your children before, or just a soul who is feeling a bit tuckered out as you try to deal with the day to day, be honest with yourself and your friends. Allow yourself to take a break, whether it’s 30 minutes, 24 hours or 7 days. You do what feels right for you, but remember what’s right for you is to also be good to yourself. I know we have not lacked even the slightest bit for love and support throughout our journey and I also know it’s the continued interactions with our family and friends that keep our candle lit, but taking time for myself reminded me how important that element is in rekindling my own inner spirit and to make each day ‘mynewfavoriteday’.
A special thanks to PW, AW, JS, LG, AI, RDR, NB, EK, MM, KSP. Cece, Bev, Nanna H, and Pete, Richard, Carol, Lyda, Matt, Ray:)), Steve, Dave, The Who Cares, So What, and the Baracuda and Aqua Skipper for a fantastic and memorable week.