mommy-brained in mexico

My husband and I made a romantic pact while honeymooning five years ago. We vowed to travel somewhere fun together to celebrate each of our anniversaries. While we are on our anniversary trip, we must decide where we will travel the following year so we have a full year to plan and save for the next trip.

Since our Jamaican honeymoon in 2005, we have spent April 9 in Boston, San Francisco, Paris, Victoria/Tofino and, this year, Cancun! (We arrived home this morning a little after midnight.)

Last year, we took Baby J with us on our 2009 anniversary trip to British Columbia. We had a lovely time, but as we planned for our fifth anniversary, we estimated we would be in desperate need of couple time by April 2010. We were right; we definitely needed the time together.

So, with mixed emotions, we decided to leave our 16-month-old son with my inlaws for nine days while we travelled to Mexico!

Other than a brief 24-hour test run that we had attempted a few weeks prior, the longest I had been away from my son was about five hours.  A single overnighter with Daddy at the grandparents' could in no way prepare me for a full week without my boy.

Even though I was thousands of kilometers from him, my son was still there with me. He was in the face of every child I passed. Boy or girl, toddler or teen, it didn't seem to matter.  I saw him or the possibility of him in all children.

While this reaction was somewhat expected, I was thrown off guard in several instances. Like when I saw his sweet innocence in the eyes of a new puppy in a roadside litter during our bus ride to Chichen-Itza. Or, when I was reminded of his curiosity as I interacted with a playful fish during a snorkeling expedition.  As I floated in the Caribbean, I'd close my eyes and concentrate on the sounds of the waves and my breath. More than once I could faintly hear "Mama, Mama" echoing in my mind's ear.

This trip firmly proved what I had been theorizing for some time. No matter where I go or what I do from this point forward, my child will forever be implanted in the front of my mind. Memories, worries, plans and hopes for my child seem to be filters for the rest of my thoughts.  Of course I have outside interests and dreams of my own. Only now I imagine they are passing through these gatekeepers -- checking in or, at the very least, paying homage -- before proceeding into full consciousness.

Although I embarrassingly shed a few tears at odd moments (like when a mariachi band was serenading us with a quirky Spanish rendition of Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called to Say I Love You") I enjoyed having my son along for the trip in spirit only. It made me even more thankful for the time I get to spend with him. It allowed my husband and I time to reconnect, celebrate our marriage and reminisce together. And, it allowed me some rare quiet time so that I could clearly hear the inner-workings of my new, beautiful Mommy brain!

~ Laura Monchuk

"She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn't take them along." ~ Margaret Culkin Banning



3 comments


i am the diva said...

just lovely.

Laura Monchuk said...

Thanks so much, Diva! I truly had a lovely time.

Amy K. said...

Ok. You can give them back now. My thoughts, that is, because you have taken them exactly as they are in my own head and written them here for the world to see and share. I couldn't have said it better myself. I haven't been away from my girls for more than a day - and that was when I delivered number two. Kara (then 17 months) stayed with my inlaws over night and while I was a little preoccupied what with having another baby and all, I STILL worried and thought about and missed my sweet Kara. Mommy brains are wonderful and scary things.

Have you experienced the telepathy part? Where it's nap time and they are sound asleep and you start thinking about them? Then you whisper think, "I shouldn't think so loud or they will hear me and wake up." Then they do.

Or when your son is in the other room and though your eyes aren't physically on him, you can actually see every single thing he is doing? He's by the chair playing with the arm cover. He just flung it. Yep. That was about eight steps. He's by the TV. "Baby J., please don't touch the TV..." You look and he's standing there with outstretched guilty fingers. "Whaaaat?," his eyes say. With attitude.

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