Often, my life seems to revolve around two things:
- Getting both my older children to their activities, and
- Making sure my youngest is out of trouble.
You might think that the former would be the most time consuming, but in reality it often feels like the latter. My 2-year-old can find more ways than you might think to get in trouble.
- He is a master of escape – able to climb through our doggie door to the backyard, unbeknownst to any of us.
- He can radar-detect and pinpoint the exact location of any hot stove, breakable china, and non-child-proofed object with superhero precision.
- And, he can trash my middle son’s Lego collection in a single bound.
He is a cyclone of destruction masked by a ridiculously cute, yet devious smile with eyes to kill.
Which is part of the reason why we decided to “escape” this past week as a family unit of only 4 (minus our toddler), for a quick getaway to Kalahari – an indoor/outdoor water park and hotel.
The Great Escape
We enlisted my mom and dad to come help us out overnight with our 2-year-old and snuck away in-between a Tuesday morning swim and dive team practice and a Wednesday morning swim and dive team meet for some quality afternoon/evening, non-toddler time with our 6- and 9-year-old.
We were ALL looking forward to this short trip.
The kids were over-the-top excited to be able to go down any water slide their little hearts desired without the constrictions of their very lovable, but not-yet-water-park-ready little brother.
My husband and I, were looking forward to just hanging out with our older kids – without out the whole “divide and conquer* mentality” that we often have when our toddler is around.
* Divide and conquer = One parent chasing around the toddler and the other relaxing with the older kids
- We slid through the park not thinking about naps.
- We ate dinner because we were all hungry and not because our toddler was hungry.
- We stayed up late, got ice cream, visited the arcade, and watched movies until the wee hours of the night together in our hotel room – not overly concerned about bedtimes, cranky 2-year-olds, and even crankier mom and dads because…
Our 6 and 9-year-old can handle a day of fun without bottoming out in exhaustion. (In fact, I am willing to bet that my husband and I were way closer to bottoming out in exhaustion then our children were.)
It was nice to feel free and to really enjoy ourselves as parents. I am not ashamed to admit that sometimes, this whole parenting “gig,” can get the best of me. Occasionally, I just need to escape.
In the back of my mind of course I missed our toddler, but I also loved the freedom of being away from the sometimes overly exhausting responsibility of keeping him and all his superhero-like toddler “powers” safe and under control.
Back to Reality
When we returned from our trip the next day we immediately drove to a dive meet, followed by a swim meet, accompanied by a short dinner and then topped off with:
And of course we come back to a toddler who, upon our return, dashes through the doggie door leaving a trail of destruction in his path and then proceeds to climb back into the house (through the doggie door of course!) to terrorize my older son’s Lego collection.
In a blink of an eye, we were back to the same-old, same-old.
Kalahari and all of its fun and freedom felt SO far away.
I couldn’t take it any more, so we all went to bed. All of us.
5:30 a.m. – I awoke to subtle aches in my body from using “water park” muscles I never knew I had. Minutes of working in my home office turned into hours, quicker then my toddler can run into the middle of a busy road.
9 a.m. – The house was still unfathomably quiet and unexpectedly motionless.
I woke up the older kids for swim practice and – with hesitation – finally broke down and woke up my toddler out of necessity (because I am still of the mind that you never wake a
crazy, destructive toddler unless you need to).
And that is when I felt it. It usually starts with just a feeling… a very small worry within your heart, a feeling that just tugs at you – telling you something is not. quite. right.
My toddler sl-ow-ly woke up – not dashing for the Legos, not sliding down the stars, not even remotely attempting a break for the doggie door. I could tell without a doubt that he was…
The need to escape from the responsibility of a crazy toddler was gone.
And rapidly replaced with:
Love and concern.
As I worked hard to block the worries out of my mind and concentrate on taking care of my son, I began to think of how much I really have.
Our health. Just enough wealth. And a family I love and adore way more often then not.
And I felt grateful. Beyond belief.
For all I have. And all that I don’t have.
And at that time the word “escape” – was the furthest from my mind.
Leave a comment. Do you ever feel the need to escape responsibility only to realize just as quickly how much you never want to loose that responsibility?
This week I am trying something new! I am linking up with Genny Heikka
at My Cup to Yours for her Mom-Monday’s Link-up.