Oy. Today I had a bizarre but very interesting decision making process that ended with me deciding to send Mermaid Girl and Sharky Boy with my hubby for an overnight road-trip to a fun amusement part. How did this happen? Well...
We had this trip planned for a few months. Hubby had a meeting on Saturday morning in a city that's only an hour and a half from here. There's also a super fun amusement park there. So we thought we'd make it a fun family trip. Even my parents were going to make the 2 hour drive from their home to join us for an overnight fun event.
Except we forgot two very important details.
1. We have a dog.
2. Life loves to surprise you and keep you on your toes.
It's not that we forgot we have a dog, we just forgot that we don't have anyone easily accessible anymore to look after her whenever we need to go away. Our closest family now lives 4 hours away and while we do have friends here, asking them would be putting them in a hard position. So we decided to bring her with us. We thought that would solve our problem, but then there's the matter of checkout times. In order of us to be able to enjoy the rides at the park we need to be able to leave our dog somewhere safe. The car is not an option, unless we want a popsicle dog. And late checkout only gave us until noon. No good.
So we asked one dear friend who agreed to look after her. But she's already got two dogs, one of which does not like other dogs. So...not ideal.
Then came important detail number two...
The kids are sick. The older two are getting better, but Bebecita is freshly sick. And travelling with a sick baby is no fun. For anyone.
Then life's other surprise is that the amusement park is closed tomorrow for a good part of the day. Right when we were planning to go and enjoy the rides and further complicating everything.
Through all of this a little voice inside me was saying, you stay home with the dog and the baby. Enjoy the time, just imagine how quiet the house will be with only one kid in it. A kid that goes to bed at 7pm. You'll have the whole evening to yourself. You can go to bed early, sleep all night because the baby isn't the one waking up during the night right now. You really need the break and the rest.
And then another little voice would chime in...
Sure, but are you really going to miss our on watching your kids having so much fun? You are really going to let them go somewhere without you? What if something happens? What if they get hurt, lost, injured, maimed, lost....?
The dialogue battle was quite interesting. And ultimately, I did give in to voice number two.
I started packing all of our things and preparing snacks and drinks.
And every time the kids would yell, or argue or whine or cry I felt how raw my nerves were. How little patience I had in the reserve tanks. It really has been a draining week. I began reconsidering.
I realized and admitted to myself that yes, I did need a break. Not only did I need a break, but I WANTED to take a break.
I realized that the staying-home-with-one-kid-and-the-dog option was based on my needs and that the you-need-to-go-as-well option was based on pure fear and guilt.
And I know too well that making decisions out of fear isn't usually something that leaves you happy, nor does it provide space for personal growth.
I admit I am very attached to my kids. Of course I am. And I also know that as part of fostering this healthy attachment, I sometimes have to let them go.
I asked Mermaid Girl if she would be sad if I didn't go. Her response was, "No, we will be OK, I will help look after Sharky Boy. But only stay home if it makes you happy."
Smart words from a smart kiddo.
I accepted that staying home would make me happy. So I decided to stay home.
Yes, not-so-great things may happen. But they may happen whether I am there or not.
Their dad is perfectly capable of looking after them, they can have special time with him (they never really get to spend time with just him) and plus they will get to see their grandparents too.
So I am enjoying my evening. I went out to dinner, just me and the baby. And I remembered how when I just had Mermaid Girl I thought it was so hard. Eating dinner with baby tonight was so enjoyable, I laughed at that 2006 version of myself!
So today I grew just a little bit more. I let go, even though it was hard, and I learned that I am OK if I let go. And more importantly that my kids are OK too and I've given them an opportunity to live through a new experience and I'm sure they will come home tomorrow happy and full of stories to share with me.