I patted my hand on the wild chunks of his hockey hair (emblematic of the Canadian right of passage) that shot out in every direction. No matter how it looks, he rocks that mane with pride because he earned it with sweat and hard work. He hates it when I try to smooth it out, but tonight I could tell by the way his tiny body heavily sank into the middle of the bed that he was too worn out to protest.
He stuck his hand out in my face as I tucked the blankets under his mattress just the way he likes it. I stopped and I kissed the palm.
“Momma, you’re coming back in two sleeps,” he said as he curled his fingers over my kiss.
“No babe. Momma and Daddy are coming home in seven sleeps.”
He concentrated as he counted to seven.
“That’s too long Momma. You can come home in two sleeps ok?”
“We can’t buddy. We will be home in seven.”
“It’s seven sleeps. You’re going to be here with Gram and you’re going to have so much fun!”
“No I won’t. I am going to miss you for all of the days!” he shouted as he whipped the comforter over his shoulder and rolled away from me.
He began to sob until he stopped making sounds. I held him tightly and cried along with him. Shawn sighed in the doorway and mumbled, “This was a stupid idea.”
Over the last few months, my mind has been swirling into and out of and then eventually sticking itself in a dark place. On a daily basis, I was enduring painful emotions from memories past that were triggered by smells and sights that I couldn’t get away from. Shawn and I had arguments over nothing and everything. Our patience was getting thin with Chunky over not eating dinner or stuffing garbage into his toy box or leaving socks out that the dog would eat. I knew that both of us desperately needed to break away and while home is where healing begins, it was the last place that I wanted to be.
In two weeks, Shawn booked our vacation to Mexico.
Without our son.
As my shirt caught Chunky’s tears, I felt so guilty for making this trip without him, but Shawn and I needed to be free from schedules, late nights at work, meal planning, early mornings, triggers, and everything that forced a gap to grow between us as a husband and wife.
While we have spent nights away for weddings or when Chunky’s grandparents stole him for the night, we haven’t had a real vacation together in years. Five to be exact; the same age as Chunky.
Our son is our world and we include him in our travels near and far but sometimes, especially now, we need to just be.
Before we left, I made sure to make this transition as easy as possible for him. I made a kissing stone which is pretty much the same concept as the kissing hand, only our love would be tangible when we weren’t going to be there.
I also wrote a note for every day that we would be gone and I attached it to awesome dollar store finds. Gram would read them to him every morning before school.
My mother in law, Gram, was phenomenal in that she also made goodie bags of her own. Every day there was an activity, or a movie or a treat that he got to look forward to after school was done.
My brother and his fiancé took him to power skate and hockey practice. Then spoiled him with a trip to the toy store. They sent us pictures and I’d be lying if I said that both Shawn and I didn’t cry.
We bought an international cell phone plan so that we could call him whenever we wanted to.
And then I put this photo under his pillow with our saying on the back for when we get sad.
When we left early that morning to head to Mexico, Chunky held us tight. We had to kiss the stone a hundred times and then more. I had to kiss the palm of his hand. I had to hold him so close that we both couldn’t breathe.
And I did that all for me….ok and him.
I cried when he said, “Ok momma. Can I go back to sleep now?” because I knew that he was going to be ok. Shawn and I on the other hand? Well that’s a different story.
We called him every other day and you could tell how happy he was. That made us feel so relieved in our decision to go and we were able to relax for the duration of our trip. I can’t even begin to tell you how rejuvenating this trip was for both of us.
For all of us I believe.
We got to do all of the things that we needed to do to as a husband and wife, and Chunky got time to spend with his Gram. When we landed on Canadian soil, we sped home to find Chunky as content as could be.
So was it selfish that we took a trip without him?
I know that people may disagree with me and that is ok, but I don’t think it was selfish at all.
Do you think that it’s selfish to take a trip without your kids?
Have you taken a trip without your kids?
Would you consider taking a trip without your kids?
What do you do to reconnect with your significant other?