it’s almost tomorrow
Daniel comes home tomorrow and I keep spontaneously bursting into tears. I love an airport reunion.
The past 13+ weeks have been such a big learning curve for me. I know that my solo-parenting experience is not particularly unique or noteworthy; it doesn’t deserve congratulations or reward. But for me, it was a new and scary and overwhelming experience – I had very little time to prepare for it and it took me a while to adjust.
Daniel has spent the last three months travelling to 13 countries across four continents. He’s white water rafted in the rainforest in Costa Rica, ridden horseback through the Andes in Chile, partied at Carnivale in Rio, repelled waterfalls in the Jordanian desert, snuck into an underground flamenco club in Madrid, rode a vespa through Rome, sailed in Athens and was blessed by a guru in Mumbai. Most nights he slept for five hours before getting up to do it all again (apparently the entire crew are coffee addicts).
In the first few weeks I experienced a whole gamut of emotions, including a great, big dose of resentment. I’ll admit, it took me a while to work my way through that one and so I sat with it, waiting for it to dissipate. I distinctly remember the day that it did. I was home alone, planting herbs into pots when I recalled a few conversations that Daniel and I had shared a year or so ago. He told me that he wanted to travel because he never did it in his youth. He had a nagging ache to see the world and it was growing – quite quickly. We talked about specific countries and their allure but we always came back to the practicalities of such a dream – how could he do it with a young family? How could we ever afford it? It was in that moment that I realised – this trip was a blessing. He was expanding his career, fulfilling a dream and supporting his family. Resentment immediately turned to gratitude.
I’ve carried that gratitude close over the past few months; I’ve come back to it on particularly challenging days when all I wanted was for him to be home, when the children were fighting and I had to make dinner – again. How has it actually been for me? It’s been really hard and, at the same time, good – really good. I’ve done it and as a result I’ve realised that I’m much more capable than I ever gave myself credit for. I’ve lowered my ideals, let go of lofty expectations and learned to say “no”. I have a much better understanding of myself – as a woman, a partner and a parent.
Is it something I would do again? Yes, I probably would. But it’s a little bit like birth – you’re more scared the second time around because you know what’s coming.
Tomorrow my beautiful little family will be home – together, under one roof. Regardless of how profound this experience has been for Daniel and I and regardless of how much we have changed because of it, we still share the same priority – family.