I'm thinking about flying across the country by myself with my toddler. And I'm on the verge of an anxiety attack.
Upon hearing about Rob's friends' and co-workers' airplane-intensive vacations with children, I vowed never to do it. Even with a partner or friend along it sounded like no fun. Consoling a wailing small person at twenty-thousand feet isn't really my scene. And dealing with an ever-stronger running, jumping, climbing, kicking, grunting toddler? Sometimes I can barely manage that in my own living room.
But now, here I am, seriously considering lugging my little Neanderthal man to the East coast for a long weekend at the beach with my girlfriends. I know diapers and bedtime stories aren't really conducive to Girls' Nights Out, but we're not so much the Girls' Night Out types. We're more Girls' Night In: movies and junk food and snarky commentary mixed with passionate political debate. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Rants.
I have this fantasy running on constant loop in my mind that involves Westley and me having a fabulous time, playing together at the beach every day, him getting fussed over by his four honorary aunts, and the two of us cuddled together on a mattress at night. Westley would love it, my girlfriends would get to experience his wonderfulness, and I would have most of my favorite people in one place.
Practicing for the beach with mist from the garden hose.
But unfortunately, my fantasy keeps getting interrupted with giant racing-heart question marks. I try to imagine actually navigating the airport with a toddler...and luggage, and a carry-on bag and a diaper bag and a baby carrier and a stroller (because, let's face it, I'm going to want a secure and mobile place to put him down) and a car seat. And that's before we even get to the part with the six-hour flight. Six hours, if we pop for the nonstop tickets. Which come to a literal grand total of over $1000 for the two of us.
My mother has offered to babysit if I decide to take the trip alone, and Westley has a great time with her, and I can hear some of you saying, "Are you crazy? Why on earth would you take him with you if you have the option to leave him with your mom?" My doctor even said, "You need a break" when I mentioned the trip.
It's true, I do need a break. But I also need to be with my boy. It's a developmental stage thing. We're in the middle of separation anxiety: mine. I used to be able to let my dad take Westley for a walk in the stroller without a second thought, but now I spend the whole time they're out thinking about Westley and feeling itchy with the mama-bear tingles. Is he okay? Of course he's okay, you idiot. But...is he okay? It makes no rational sense, and I completely own that. But knowing that I didn't always feel this way--that sometimes I can be as clingy as Westley is--doesn't help me when I'm lying in bed at night missing him. Despite the fact that he's not even 20 feet away in the other room!
Don't go, Mommy!
So I'm really fucking stuck. I'm feeling lots of internal pressure to take Westley on vacation with me. My girlfriends are are anxious to meet him, and I can't seem to let go of my fantasy fun-with-Westley-at-the-beach scenario. Rob would welcome the opportunity to have the house to himself I know, and I'd feel like Superwoman if I actually managed to fly with a toddler with my sanity intact. The fact that Westley is still nursing is the weighty icing on the pressure cake. He really doesn't need to breastfeed any more, but going three-thousand miles away from home for five days wasn't exactly my plan in terms of weaning. And I'd really, really miss him. No amount of knowing he was fine would stop me from lying in bed at night imagining I heard him crying "Mama! Mama!" while I was trying to go to sleep.
Taking Westley on vacation with me sounds impossibly hard, but so does leaving him at home. What the hell am I going to do?