It’s 5.49am and our then four-year-old has crept out of bed, paused in our doorway to pass wind, and is making his way into our bed to commence the daily process of demanding we start our collective day. His little sister won’t be far behind him.
Hoff rolls over and instead of my usual sleepy cuddle, I get this:
“Remember all those times before we had kids and I wanted to sleep in and you were all like, no, get up, we should do something?”
Me: Loaded, suspicious pause.
Hoff: “NOW WE HAVE TO DO THINGS ALL THE TIME AND WE NEVER GET TO DO NOTHING AND WE SHOULD’VE BEEN DOING NOTHING THAT WHOLE TIME AND WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?”
He’s right. We should’ve been doing nothing. What a joyous privilege I was naively taking for granted.
I was reminded of this sentiment recently while re-reading a post of our last trip around the US, which was eighteen months before our son Zach was born.
Reading back over our antics I was struck by how good we had it. Don’t get me wrong, [INSERT OBLIGATORY BUT UNNECESSARY CAVEAT LIKE “I LOVE MY KIDS” OR SIMILAR HERE], but those kids are intense. Most days I feel like they’ve nominated me as the activities director for the world’s most deranged cruise line, the job description of which involves a constant program of suitable entertainment daily from 6am to 7pm, 365 days per year with no public holidays, annual leave or lunch breaks.
So in honour of my infuriating pre-parenthood innocence, I’ve decided to re-write parts of a previous post, which was entitled: “A perpetual state of wonder”. I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting the 2018 additions. Enjoy.
A PERTUAL STATE OF WONDER 2.0
I am mildly concerned that I am suffering ‘scenery fatigue’.
As opposed to the bone-permeating actual fatigue that I have been unable to escape since the day five and a half years ago when a doctor sliced my guts open and pulled a giant baby out.
In the last week or so we have seen so much natural beauty that I am concerned that my threshold for what constitutes natural beauty has been raised and I risk being very hard to please in the future. And I haven’t seen Uluru yet.
(Still haven’t seen Uluru. Because even though holidays are meant to be restful and soul-renewing, travelling with two preschoolers is actually harder than living with two preschoolers, so all non-essential travel is limited to visiting interstate family and destinations where we can engage their ‘spirited’ minds with trademarked children’s television characters. Oh and chips. There has to be chips.)
The point is, the most recent part of our journey has had me in a perpetual state of wonder, which I was allowed to feel because I travelled with another adult-type human being who is occasionally quiet. Not two children who essentially spend their days concurrently talking at me, the content usually consisting of: a) telling jokes that are not funny or involve macabre animal deaths, b) recounting the plot line of the previous afternoon’s television viewing, or c) asking life’s real questions, like “Mum, why is it Thursday?” (not rhetorical).
Tuesday saw us catch the Grand Canyon Railway to the Southern Rim, and I willingly chose to undertake this activity because unlike my current travelling party size/situation, being in an enclosed space with other unsuspecting travellers DOESN’T fill me with the sense of dread that I usually reserve for a pap smear. Evidently I could actually be around other people for extended periods without ultimately screaming like a banshee at my children to SIT DOWN, STOP POKING THAT LADY AND WHERE IN GOD’S NAME DID YOU GET THE IDEA THAT IT’S OKAY TO SCREAM AND SHOUT IN PUBLIC?
So we arrived at the Grand Canyon and we immediately decided that it is absolutely a canyon worthy of the adjective ‘grand’. And we felt quite chuffed that we got to see it under clear skies with a smattering of snow about the place.
We should’ve also been quite chuffed that we were able to stand there and appreciate it in relative peace without doing the mental arithmetic of how fast can my kid run and if I triangulate the distance between them, me and the edge of the canyon, am I close/fast enough to intercept them should they inexplicably make a bolt for the rim? I probably also didn’t end up anxiety induced IBS at the end of this day either. Huh.
So now we find ourselves in Phoenix. We are feeling warm and very excited to be here, surrounded by cacti. Hoff is watching Virginia Tech v Georgia Tech on the telly and I was probably sitting on the hotel bed, completely oblivious to the unbridled joy of being in a hotel room without having to build an ipad-watching fort under some blankets in darkness, lest I interrupt the requisite nap schedule that waits for no man, not even in over-crowded hotel rooms in the middle of the day. Bless my ignorant heart.
Honestly. 2018 me is going to appreciate the crap out of this trip.