Well, I am back, and not too happy about it. As Stormy mentioned in her last post, I was off enjoying Spring Break with my family. Now usually, I would say “enjoying” a family vacation is a bit of a stretch. It usually means whiny kids out of their element, too much together time and expectations set way too high on the quality memories we would create together. Plus, family also includes my parents who we stay with in Arizona. This adds to my personal stress of keeping my children from disrupting their calm lives and of wanting to show off how great my children are turning out due to our fabulous parenting skills. (This usually is when my parents witness all of us at our worst, as I try to force the unrealistic image of a perfect family which then turns into a complete family meltdown.) Toward the end of vacation, I usually start dreaming about my escape back to work. But, this trip was different.
Perhaps my children have reached a new stage. Now they are old enough to also appreciate the difference the warmth of the sun and relaxed schedule can make to them and their parents’ mood. Nor, do they need the same strict routines to function like somewhat tolerable human beings. Or, it could be that I have
relaxed a bit and decided if my five-year-old daughter wants to do her normal nonstop morning chatter to her grandparents, instead of me, there is no need to intervene. Instead, I took the selfish approach of picking up my book and enjoying the morning quiet. After a couple days, it became the morning routine and household joke as I stumbled through the kitchen, poured a cup of coffee, waved to all (without a word) and headed outside to my lawn chair to read. “There goes Mom again.” I’d be joined a couple hours later as the kids jumped into the pool. Which leads me to another great stage, I didn’t have to be in the pool morning till night watching the kids play. They both can swim on their own now. I could pretend to watch (with my sunglasses masking my gaze) all the “look at me” and “watch this” tricks poolside. Once in awhile I would make my appearance as the special guest jumping in and getting lots of excitement and applause for it.
Aside from a few outings, we pretty much just hung out, relaxed and enjoyed the setting. (One outing was on horseback, a favorite activity since childhood of mine that I will post about in more detail later.) I didn’t even check in at work more than filtering through emails once a day. Pretty impressive with a new website launching the day I returned. I do have to give my unplugged-from-work credit to my great and completely self-sufficient staff, who told me (and meant it) to STOP whenever I tried to check in. It was the only time I actually liked being told to “STOP” and I paid attention and took the advice to quiet my rambling thoughts. For ten days, I truly relaxed. I won’t get into full boasting of all of the luxuries and other tidbits that made this trip so perfect, but it was simply a fabulous escape from reality.
What goes up must come down. And I realized this up in the air, just before midnight on Sunday and about 30 minutes away from landing back in Minneapolis. I had planned the late return thinking the kids still had the following day off to catch up on sleep and after all of my rest, certainly one day short on sleep wouldn’t be too hard to handle in exchange for taking full advantage of my vacation time. But on that last leg of the plane ride it suddenly all hit me. Tomorrow, instead of leisurely walking outside groggy from so much inactivity, I would be running to a work in 30-degree weather after only four hours of sleep. I would be faced with issues from a website launch, a frantic pace of catching up on all that sat idle waiting for my return, and to top it off, it was my birthday. Yes, I was turning 44 up in the air and I certainly didn’t see it as a something to celebrate. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had lost an entire year and only recently realized it wasn’t my 43rd birthday. With midnight looming, it looked like I was facing my own Cinderella story.
It was no fun realizing I was right. I kept a good face on at work but inside I was miserable. All of the things that had made me so happy had been swept up and taken away. I kept trying to be mature and told myself I was lucky to have had that time to enjoy, but the more rational I tried to become, the more irrational I felt. I wanted my fairy tale back.
It would be a shame to end the post that all was lost and it was a horrible, no good, very bad day (I loved that book as a kid!). There was a slight happy ending that I made for myself. I did what any mature working woman/overstressed mom would do. I came home, put on my pajamas, and hid in my bed with a bottle of wine. Under the birthday disguise, I claimed a free night and wanted my servant children and husband to bring me food as needed. After spending my night with hours of T.V. (all favorite shows I had recorded but never time to watch) and a few too many glasses of wine, I finally dozed off, content.
Looking at the forecast ahead, the temps are rising so hopefully my mood will follow. Onwards and upwards! I won’t give up hope on for my own happy-ever-after ending though.