Coming up from down under, I am making my way home from Australia. Before I get home to access the damage from leaving four children and a babysitter behind, I am capturing the memory on paper. It was a last minute trip, where my husband was away on work and invited me to join him.
“Are you crazy? No, I can’t do that!” I told him when he brought up the idea.
“Why?” he looked at me.
“Well because....because...I’m a mother. That’s why.”
He just shrugged his shoulders and looked at me like I was out of my mind to refuse a once in a lifetime invitation to travel across the globe.
After a parade of emotions, I decided that he was right. Even though I was a mother, I had a capable babysitter. Furthermore, I deserved to have a life.
With that being said, my welcome home voice message from my son who is 12 was my first precursor.
“Mom, hi it’s Jack. I just want you to know how much I miss you. I also want you to know that we had a tornado touch down in our town. We were lucky in that it didn’t do much damage. It did however, rip through the screen door that leads out to the back porch. And.um. Mom, the teacher took my cell phone. I didn’t do anything, I swear. I think she just needed one for herself.”
My advice to all parents out there: Don’t ever be reluctant to take time for yourself. YOU DESERVE IT even if its means you miss a tornado.
When I first arrived at Sydney, it was hard to transition. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself without 5 loads of laundry, a dirty kitchen, and dishes in the dishwasher. I felt like a turtle looking for its shell. My husband and I decided the first thing we should do was get to know Sydney on a double decker tour bus. In a city half way around the world, we sat up top, while the winter rain pelted our heads. My body was in shock. Should I sleep or should I eat? I was tired and wanted to go home.
In the morning, everything looked brighter. Out my window I had a great view of The Sydney Opera House, as well as The Sydney Bridge that crossed the harbor. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all? My husband was off to work and I was off to the airport to catch a flight to Brisbane where I would visit with a childhood friend.
“Where to first?” she asked.
“Wine,” I yelled.
“I want to be in Shiraz heaven.”
With that, the switch went off and once I was released from my responsibilities, I didn’t have a care in the world. She took me to a store featuring local artisans. For an hour, like artists with a paintbrush, we tried on bracelets after bracelet, different color combinations, looking, relooking, and laughing, with no pressures, no hurries, and no deadlines. That night we drank Australian Shiraz and enjoyed Indian food, talking endlessly through the night.
The next morning at 5:45 my friend Coleen woke up to a different kind of Australian animal jumping up and down on her bed.
“I AM IN AUSTRALIA!” I screamed.
Yoga was the first item of the day. Her teacher and I connected and talked in depth about Anusara Yoga and it’s philosophies. There wasn’t anyone yanking me to go, or calling me on my cell to tell me I was late. They couldn’t, I was too far away.
Later that day hopping into the car, we filled the tank and traveled the Australian round-a-bouts to the coastal community of Noosa.
“Oh my gosh we have to stop” my friend yelled.
“Is everything ok?” I asked.
“Yes, we must take a picture by the Giant Pineapple.”
Many traditional Aussie photos later, we arrive in Noosa, a quaint vacationing community on the coast for lunch. We never ran out of things to say and it hit me how much I needed this time away.
“Hey, lets take really silly pictures on the beach.”
“Yeah” she said. “Lets do it!”
Coleen taught me to cook nutrionally, took me to the Aussie grocery store where we bought Tim Tams (Australian cookie), honey, and many other things to bring home.
My last day in Brisbane we went to the koala sanctuary where I held a koala and fed the kangaroos. I was sad to be leaving and that our time was over.
What I realized during the course of my stay, was that I missed in my life was someone to care for my needs (that wasn’t hired.) I was starved. My soul was fed through art, culture, sharing, and being cared for.
I also realized that sometimes without knowing it, my kids took away my ability to be a kid. Day after day, I was the adult. When I walked into the Koala sanctuary and squealed with delight, I was the kid.
That night, I was elated to see my husband back in Sydney. I missed him and I had many stories to share. He was happy that I had me time, and together we spent quality time as a couple. We took a wine class in the wine country, and hand in hand walked the coastline beaches. When the trip was over, I was ready to go home and be Mom.
“Jack, it’s Mom. It’s all right that the screen ripped. Don’t worry honey we will find a way to fix it. And Jack, I can’t wait to see you. I miss you too.”
For more work by me, please visit Thought I Was Perfect.