Editor’s Note: With her characteristic humour, bringing the light into even the toughest moments of parenthood, Brooke has been delighting our readers. As she grows her own projects, we are sad to say Brooke won’t be writing regularly for us anymore (though she promises to pop in here and there). But she’s leaving us on this hilarious high note. Read on for Brooke’s story of spring break “mama style”!
With Spring Break fast approaching, it reminded me of that one time a few years ago that I selfishly abandoned my family for a vacation all by myself. Yup, you read that right. Cue up that ballad, “Allllll by myyyyselllllf.”
If you dare follow in my single set of footsteps, here is how I got away with it, heart and conscience intact.
On March 7th at 3:30 am my alarm went off. I threw myself under hot water, managed to not take large swaths of leg skin off with a power shave, and deposited myself and two bulging bags into the back of a dark taxi at 4:10 am. To the airport; I’m going to MIAMI. Miami.
Even saying it sounds exotic, wet, irresponsible.
How was I, a doughy Mom of a 2.5 year old, heading out by myself for a long weekend of complete and total real-life abandonment? Answer: Because everybody around me is awesome.
Know this to be true: I love my daughter more than I love myself. Every day since her overdue entrance into my arms, she is the first and last thing I think of. She is the only person in this life whose opinion of me really matters; the only hug whose arms enclose my neck and heart at the exact same time. Her life makes my life make more sense.
But every Saturday night, since she was 6 months old, I have cheerfully passed her off to my Mom for a sleepover. I love you, I love you, and I love you, now go away so I can love me. So, when I had a chance to go visit my dear friend in Florida – time zones away from this kid – I absolutely went.
When people asked if I was taking her, I laughed until I hiccupped and then laughed again. (Now that I’m back I can confirm that Miami is no place to take a child. Every tourist parent I saw had the same dazed “what have we done?” look in their eyes. Oh, and the air above South Beach is so thick with sex and dubstep you can almost take large bites of it.)
Knowing I was leaving her in the capable and generous hands of her Dad and both Grandmas, with guest appearances by dear friends, made the thought of leaving for five nights so much easier. Did I worry she’d flip me off when I got back, her tiny little soul now smoky and black, a nugget of abandonment she’d stroke and let fester until she was 16 and could smother me with her words?
Did I worry any one of the four planes I trusted to get me to and from this selfish sojourn would suddenly hit that particularly terrible pocket of air that made the wings melt off and as we plummeted to some innocent corn field I’d have to hold the hand of a stranger and cry silently?
Yes to all of that, because if worry was a form of currency I would be the Empress of Earth, sitting on her throne of golden doubloons, multiplying the pile every 8 minutes or so.
To ease my momentarily manic mind, I wrote her a little letter that said I loved her more than she loves cupcakes. (That would have to resonate.) I told her my itinerary every night leading up to the trip, leaving out the mean parts like “and then Mama is going to have another blackberry mojito and sleep in like a 17 year old.”
I laid out all her little individual outfits – stretchy sweet-smelling fabrics of all manners of stripes and polka dots. I prayed her Dad’s lullabies would suffice. I could have taught him my nightly song, a mashup of Raffi, childhood commercial jingles and the Beastie Boys, but it would have been a waste of time. Plus, he has better breath control than I do on the mic.
The best decision we made though was to surprise her with a new toy the first night I was away. I saw the Instagram pics of her nuzzling Jessie from Toy Story, with unabashed love in her big brown eyes, but I wasn’t worried about being replaced.
I was sitting in 23 degree weather having my own illicit love affair with all four walls of Target, the gorgeous honeysuckle that permeated my girlfriend’s front lawn and the gluten free crab fried rice at P.F. Chang’s.
But seriously, if you can, give yourself a break like this. If you have an incredible husband (like I do), a spectacular support network (like I do), and a kid who will forgive your absence in the face of many American gifts (like I do), you get yourself on an airplane and fly, fly away.
This post originally appeared on VictoriaMom.ca. It is reprinted here with permission.
Photo Copyright: savas40 / 123RF Stock Photo