It isn't the first time, nor will it be the last that I have reminded myself that this parenting thing is hard. Really hard. It also isn't the first time, and I hope it isn't the last, that I remind myself that this parenting thing is wonderful.
I spent the last week in Whistler, BC, with my mum, step-dad, husband and children. Our accommodations were ample and comfortable. We were close enough to spit on the village and had the joy of leaving our car to collect dust for a full six days. Many good times were had, drinks were drank, laughs were shared, many interesting topics were covered and my children were showered with love.
It was a break I needed. It gave me a chance to gain some much-needed perspective.
It also broke me of the habit of sitting around feeling sorry for myself, though that one took some time. The close quarters encouraged us to take advantage of the free childcare, we walked, we swam in the hotel pool (late-night marco polo was especially fun), we played cribbage in the hotel lobby and we laughed.
Life with my parents was really neat. I think the neutrality of the space allowed me to shed my old habit of reverting to the age of fifteen. I held intelligent and informative conversations with my politically passionate step-father, we listened to one another. My mum and I built puzzles while sharing ideas and stories. My husband was a picture-perfect son-in-law, shining in his role of go-to parent. One morning I awoke as Andrew, Sebastian and my mum were leaving on an adventure. I puttered for a while before walking into the village with Rigby for a coffee and secret cigarette. When I met up with the explorers, they shared tales of giant creatures* and feats of daring**. Sebastian was beaming with pride and brimming with excitement.
I was sad to leave yesterday. I didn't feel ready to slip back into my regular life, but I knew that if we stayed one more day we would have stayed one day too long. We put off leaving for as long as we reasonably could, but after lunch we said our goodbyes and hit the open road. The kids howled in harmony for a few kilometres, but both fell asleep before the half-way point. Once we got home we had to deal with the chaos we'd left in our haste. We'd prepared ourselves for the worst, so were content that we could breathe the air and nothing had been stolen. But it didn't take long for my irritation at having to get so much done before we could even cook dinner to boil over. My husband, to his credit, kicked me out of the house until I cooled off.
We put the kids to bed and Andrew went out to run some errands - Sebastian stayed up for two hours playing in his room. He seemed so happy to be back in his own bed after sharing a room with his entire family. I shared his joy, snacking in my underwear while watching internet TV.
Today was more re-entry. Andrew and Sebastian spent the day hanging out - they went to Andrew's office, they cleaned his room, they built train tracks on the old bed/new train table/birthday project, that Andrew set up during quiet-time. I spent much of the day comforting poor Rigby who is cutting many teeth and going about the business of catching up on things like e-mail and I didn't even touch my phone. Neither saw much use last week, which was strange and a little wonderful. Though I feel bad that I didn't really tell anyone where we were going.
I still feel like I'm not really ready for tomorrow, my first day alone with the kids in ten days - but I miss my life, and it isn't really like I have a choice. I have things I've been putting off for too long and I can't afford to keep doing it. Tomorrow will be fine. I have a second errand to run before going to my support group, so I can take the car in clear conscience.
Speaking of tomorrow, if I don't get myself to bed I'll be setting myself up to have a short fuse. And I need my wits about me as I get the kids (and myself) off vacation time.
*slugs and a dog large enough to be initially confused with a bear.
**according to witness accounts, Sebastian scaled many rocks.