Lately I've been faced with a bit of a dilemma; whether or not to go away with my husband, sans bebe. I think it says a lot about how lucky we are, if this is the biggest thing we have to worry about, so I'm grateful for that. I don't expect any sympathy for the fact that I have to decide whether or not I can face a trip to Milan (oh, poor me!) but I'm sure that most parents, at some point, need to get away and can at least relate to that aspect of my problem. I know if we still lived in Sydney and had a somewhat normal life we'd probably have left J with his grandparents months ago and headed off to the coast for a weekend. The fact that we're talking about an international business class trip might make me sound spoiled, but it doesn't make it any easier.
Before we were Mama and Dada we did a bit of travelling together and I went on two of D's work trips. Back then he was mostly flying to North America and the Middle East so I tagged along to New York and L.A. and we had an awesome, but brief, time. At the time I was working, and spending 32 hours on a plane for a 48 hour layover required more stamina than I could muster most weeks, so I didn't go away as often as I could have. As soon as J was born and I was grounded, D started flying to places like London, Milan and San Francisco, and he's had some incredible travel experiences without me, much to my dismay. As he's due to do his upgrade in a couple of months these trips will soon become a thing of the past, and I'll be a little less envious when he's flying to Taipei and back in a day. For a while now we've been talking about taking advantage of the great rosters and the option of me going to work with him once again, since Hong Kong's proximity to the rest of the world is one of the main reasons why we moved here in the first place. This month D was given a Milan trip with 2 whole days there. We talked about a side trip to Venice, and when we realised that it was a few days before our anniversary, it seemed like it was meant to be. Then we calculated that we'd be away from J for 4 nights, 3 days, and it seemed like an awfully long time to be on the other side of the world. We talked about taking him with us but the thought of a 12 hour flight with a 15 month old and an 8 hour time difference ruled that out pretty quickly. Putting him through that just because we couldn't be away from him seemed more selfish than going without him. We tried to justify it to ourselves in so many ways. It'd be good for us, he'd be fine, we'd make sure everyone in the neighbourhood knew we were away and ask them to check in. We talked to other parents about it and it seemed that everyone felt pretty strongly one way or the other, there were very few sitting on the fence with us. There were those who were quite happy to take off for a few days and leave the kids with the helper, and they wondered why we were even talking about it, "book now," they cried. Others hated leaving their kids for even a day, and wouldn't dream of going so far away without them. Their faces would twist into an agonised grimace as they said, "oh, no! I couldn't do that!" and looked at me like I was clearly a terrible mother for even thinking about it. People with more than one child were more likely to support the idea, and the older the kids are the easier it is to leave them apparently.
I was torn, and then D announced that if we were going to go we'd need to organise our wills and make sure we had decided who would take custody of J if anything happened to us. Suddenly our little trip to Venice took on a whole new light - I pictured the infinite number of ways we could come to grief (those gondolas are floating death traps!), and it suddenly seemed less appealing. So in the end D left last night, without me. He still plans to go to Venice and even though he was trying to appear disappointed, he was buzzing with barely contained excitement as he packed his bag. As it turns out, it wasn't meant to be; I have tonsillitis and wouldn't have been able to go anyway. Surely it's better that I chose not to go rather than being forced not to at the last minute? I would've been bitterly disappointed if I'd gone through all that angst, decided to go and then had to can the whole thing.
I know a certain friend was hoping I'd jump in and take the trip to Milan so that he could use it to encourage his wife to do the same. What I think would be a better solution would be for us girls to go away together and leave the dads in charge (sorry, S!). I wouldn't need any convincing for that kind of holiday; I'd be perfectly happy on the other side of the world if I knew J was with one of his parents. You see, this whole debate has got me thinking about the kinds of travel I really want to do, because these days it's a pretty big investment. I've realised I'm less keen for global adventure, and more interested in some quiet time somewhere else. Top of my list is obviously a family holiday, just the three of us. A parents-only break would be a nice treat if we could tear ourselves away. But deep down I'd really love to go away by myself. Just for a weekend, a few days, to get some sun, sleep, eat a meal without being interrupted and lie idle by a pool. Sounds fab doesn't it? And a lot easier to commit to.
For now we've decided on a trial baby-free getaway, somewhere close by instead, and next week for our anniversary we're off to Macau. We'll be gone for a night and the ferry trip is only an hour. So we could be back in a heartbeat if we needed to be. I have to admit, I'm ridiculously excited about it already, and if it all goes well and we cope without our little man for 24 hours, we'll see what the roster holds in May.
In other news, I've put my time lying sick in bed to good use, and I've given the blog a facelift. I hope you like it.