There are many ways in which I changed since the arrival of our Duck, and it appears that I keep being surprised whenever I stumble upon one of them, new or only unnoticed before.
I changed as a person, as a wife, as a daughter, as a daughter-in-law, as a professional (I stopped working, basically, at least for now), and added a new aspect to the list of what makes “me” 🙂
And tonight I just found another way in which I changed since I became a mum. It relates to travelling. I have always enjoyed travelling, maybe not so much the packing – though it never stressed me out much – but the departure from the house, the arrival at the station or at the airport, and then… the adventure. Even if it meant being “only” 2 hours away by train or one hour away by plane. Elsewhere. For a few days, or a few weeks.
I have been packing for the last three days because we are leaving for a few days of holidays: wedding, birthday, and husband’s work all mixed up, it will be full. We will see the grandparents, uncles, ants, cousins and all! Some of them will even meet our Duck for the first time, and the youngest ones are really excited 😉
List ready, laundry done, suitcases and bags almost finished, only last minute things to add, and I’m done. It’s crazy the amount of things you need to travel with a little one. Lots of toys, nappies (the space it takes!), creams, books, ready foods and his spoons, his towel, his clothes for all weather, swimming nappies, the pram, the baby carrier, paracetamol, thermometer, and various medicines, just in case… Plus whatever we need for ourselves for the wedding party and our everyday needs.
It was when I was packing, and checking what I’d packed for the tenth time, that it hit me – even though it’s not the first time we travel with him – how sad and stressed I am and have been for the last few days, because of the packing. And thinking back, I realize that it happens every time we go away, even for a few days. Why do I feel this way? How could I explain?
This is our home, the place he knows most and to which we always come back to, wherever we spent the day. These are his toys, the ones we bought, the ones he received, and all the toys he made out of our appliances (switching on and off the lights is great fun, as is emptying the washing machine :p) or furniture (emptying the CD cupboard is also great fun! Playing with the curtains, climbing the couch or our bed…). Where he eats everyday. His routine to go to sleep. The music he listens to, and the place where he likes to sit on our knees when we read him a book….
How can I explain to him that we won’t sleep here tomorrow night, nor the following nights? That we won’t be able to have our perfect sleep routine or to read a book before the nap, sitting in our spot, on the floor?
Will he have stopped doing that particular face, or this particular game he plays with the furniture, when we come back? Will he have forgotten these games – maybe not in a few days?
Which toys should I take? The cardboard tower, the cars, the puzzle? Will he notice and miss the ones he won’t have? Should we leave the funny blocks, in case we lose one there?
Which books should we pack? How many can we take?
I would like to take them all. Just in case he would play with that toy, even for 10 minutes. Because it is part of our home since he was born, the home we made, not just the walls, but the objects and the routines, and the memories we make everyday. And it breaks my heart a little to leave it behind, even for a short while – though how will I react if one day we move house, leaving the walls and the switches?
But all these are only objects. Replaceable. The memories are there, with us, and we will make new ones. What matters is him, him with us, us three together. To make new games and new routines, to kiss and hug and love each other. Maybe that is what really scares me, deep down, and why I hang on to his toys, not losing the objects or the place, but losing him, losing us, somewhere, sometime. But not today. Please. Not this week. Not ever.