So that’s what I did. Booked a flight for two to Bangkok. It took me a month to decide whether or not I should travel without my daughter. Emma is at the age where separation anxiety peaks. However, it has also reached a point in time where I really need a break from my full-time job as a mother. As they say, being a mom is the toughest job in the world. Always on-call 24-7. No holidays. No, a 15-minute shower does not truly count as a spa getaway. I’m lucky enough to be able to pee alone with my iPhone.
I talked to my parents, and asked if they were ready to babysit my little girl. For some reason, I was more worried that they couldn’t handle her. This was the most challenging part – trusting them. I know my little girl will be fine a couple days without her mama. After all, she is still in the same house; waking up and going to sleep in the same bed. Familiar toys and environment; just without mama around. I was also worried Emma would give my mother a hard time. I know my mother loves her to pieces, and is very experienced but truth is, she is getting old, and it breaks my heart whenever I see her tired and exhausted.
But I had to do it. I had to get away. I saw it as an opportunity to spend some quality time with my husband. Do the things we used to do as a couple. Take a break from the parenting mode and just being ourselves to one another. Talk about other things in our lives other than discussing if our daughter is hungry, sleepy, or being a rebel.
I am not sure if Emma knew what was coming. But I did mention it to her a few days before we left. I do believe she sensed something. One night, she gave me this I-don’t-like-what-you-are-about-to-do look after I told her we would be going away for a couple days. On the day of our departure, I held back my tears as I said goodbye to her. I am proud of myself for doing that. I admit, I’m a real crybaby. Tears just naturally flow whenever the feeling overcomes me. This time, I was able to do it. All for her. I did not want to make a big deal out of it, and wanted to let her know things will be alright. Most importantly, she has to trust me that we will be back.
Bangkok was fun. I had too much to drink and couldn’t remember crashing on the carpet of our hotel room as my husband tried to walk me into the bathroom. Apparently, I insisted I had to shower … but anyway, we did a lot of shopping. It was refreshing to see a different variety of retail items. The funny thing is, Emma was on my mind the entire time (except when I had too much gin&tonic *ahem*). This is what it is. Now I really know how it feels to miss my child like there is no tomorrow. I look at the time, and I think oh, maybe she is having something to eat now or perhaps she is taking a nap.
I never really knew exactly why I needed this trip until after it was done. Taking care of Emma full time had somewhat turned me into a frustrated adult, who didn’t know what else to do when faced with a baby playing on the carpet. My child wants more from me, but she cannot elaborate what she needs, and I cannot relate to it. She is growing up fast, exploring the world unfolding in front of her eyes. Disciplining has started to surface in my actions and words with her. The worst part is, my patience was growing thinner. My released anger has startled not only my daughter, but myself. I start to question myself everyday, why am I here doing all this? Yes, motherhood is the most rewarding experience ever … but only if, we are able to not lose ourselves in its journey. I think most people miss this important piece. People pass on the first part of the sentence, but seldom does anybody discuss the latter.
It was almost as if I needed to feel how much she meant to me again. How much I love her. Everything about her. The labour and her arrival thereafter happened so fast, and everything from thereon seemed like a cloudy memory to me. I realized I never had time to think about me as a mother. Everything from parenting to self-care was bombarded at me like words in a dictionary. There was the literal meaning to all of it, but I wasn’t able to process what it really meant in context.
So this was me taking the first step in letting go. This was me advancing into a deeper sense of motherhood. How true it is when they say growing up never stops until the day you take your last breath.