My plane leaves tomorrow and it will catapult me up into the sky away from my precious little babies. At first this trip seemed like a great idea – a week away from the kids with my husband, wandering the streets of Paris, spending long and lazy hours reading, talking, and people-watching in cafés, drinking wine and savouring fresh baguettes on the banks of the Seine. But now that I’m preparing to leave, I’m second-guessing myself. Why did it feel so necessary to get away, to make a temporary escape from all this domesticity?
Perhaps because it is necessary. All of us, especially mothers who dedicate long and exhausting hours to child raising, need a break once in a while. For me, ideally that takes the form of travel, which is something I love passionately and crave intensely. I never thought I’d live the life I’m living now, settled and married with kids in a small town. I always felt called to travel, to live overseas. I wanted to be an expat, a permanent foreigner, reveling in the daily challenge of navigating another culture. I’m very satisfied and happy with my Canadian life, but every now and then the urge to explore hits me with a wallop and I plead with Jason to go somewhere, anywhere… just, please, let’s go! I need reminders of who I used to be, beneath all these (sometimes suffocating) trappings of motherhood.
It’s fascinating and disturbing how having children can turn me from adventurer into homebody. Parenting creates alarming vulnerability in adults and, at times, I morph into a cautious, paranoid, even panicky woman that I don’t recognize anymore. I guess I’m just doing my job as a mother, instinctively wanting to protect my children, but there are times when I need to take a step back and relax. It’s very hard to go away, but it’s good to go away.
We’ve done this before. My kids will be fine. The trip will be fine. No. It will be spectacular, and I’m going to be home before I know it, back to the same old grind of routine – making lunches, school drop-off, visits to the library, endless dishes and laundry, squeezing in time to write posts, working out. And then Paris, in all its distant sophistication and seductive allure, will seem like a faint dream. Did that really happen? I’ll be asking myself.
Alors, on y va!