Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Restoration

You might have guessed from my prolonged absence from blogging that we've had quite the year. It's been a shitty year, our "Annus Horribilis" if you will. We've really put the the vow "in sickness and health" to the test, and now that I think about it, "for richer or poorer" too… I've been sick, Dave's been sick, both boys have had nights in hospital under general anaesthetics. We've lost loved ones, we've moved (a gut wrenching trial that I will share later), we've had ups and downs with school and work, and experienced both the best and worst aspects of life in a small community. We've watched friends and family go through their own truly terrible times, and wished for the end of 2013, as if that would somehow fix everything.

A friend recently mentioned that doing anything out of the ordinary, with even the slightest possibility of something going wrong would be like "tempting fate" after the year we've had, so with that thought echoing in my ears, and my heart in my throat, I went away last month. By myself. To New York. I was determined to end the year on a high. To have just one good thing that came out of 2013. It was a trip that came about purely by accident after a conversation with a friend who was about to venture off on her own. She suggested I do the same, and when I laughingly told my husband about the idea, his response was "why not?"

And within a week, that conversation somehow miraculously evolved into me being in what is arguably the coolest city on the planet for a week. By myself. Did I mention I was there without my husband, without the boys, completely alone? I didn't quite believe it until I was on the plane, and I didn't quite relax until I was safely ensconced in my mid-town hotel room, but it was nothing short of bliss. I shopped and had time to try things on, I walked, no, I meandered through museums. I ate 3 meals a day without being rushed or shouting at someone else to hurry up and finish their dinner. I saw the Lion King on Broadway and cried because it was so beautiful, and I didn't have to explain to anyone why I was crying, or pretend that I wasn't moved (it was also the point in the whole week when I missed my boys the most). I sat in cafes and drank hot chocolate and ate cake and was quiet and still. I did the same in Central Park, for two hours! And I slept. I slept whenever I wanted to, for however long I wanted to. Deep, uninterrupted, perfect, healing sleep. I slept like someone who has no place to be and is not accountable to anyone. Central Park, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, sunset from the top of the Empire State Building, Christmas shopping at Macy's - none of it compared to the sleep. It was restorative, and the best thing that could've happened to me all year. Despite being 12 hours off my body clock, and a little run down from the travel and cold, the sleep made me feel well for the first time since this time last year.

I missed the boys terribly, and I felt awfully guilty, often. But lately I'd begun to feel like I wasn't doing a very good job of being their mum. After a particularly vile Sunday at home with them on my own, I said to my husband that if this were an actual job, I'd have been fired by now. Or at least had a very unfavourable performance review… We needed this. All of us. And I knew I would be a better mother if I had a chance to be by myself for a while, and if my boys had a chance to miss me. I feel like I've been swallowed up by motherhood.  I accept that sometimes there are things you choose to sacrifice when you have babies, and the rewards for that sacrifice are above and beyond anything that you might give up. But I needed reminding that there's more to me than who I have been lately. With all that glorious sleep I woke up a part of me that had been hibernating, and I came back feeling like I can give my boys so much more.

Coming home was wonderful, and the looks on my boys' faces when I walked through the door told me I had done the right thing. They had a great week with their dad, and they were perfectly fine without me. The sky didn't fall in, the house didn't burn down, no one broke any limbs. More importantly, we all missed each other enough to appreciate each other just a little bit more. I got my wish and ended the year on a high note, and with everything I have in me, I'm very much hoping it's the start of something better.