I’m up north with my parents at Izaty’s Golf Resort on Lake Mille Lacs for the week and if you can believe it, we haven’t had internet access for the past four days, due to faulty service. I know going on vacation is supposed to be about unplugging…but I’m embarrassed to say it was harder than I thought it would be. We’re plugged back in now, though, and ready to roll.
I’m in a weird sort of limbo. It’s one thing to live with your parents when you’re growing up with them, but it’s another thing to be a parent yourself, and vacation with your parents. I’m waffling between the luxury of being taken care of and the responsibility taking care of my son without Josh (Josh was here over the weekend, but had to return for the work week, so it’s just Dylan and me with Mom & Dad). For example: Dad likes to cater to us kids and supply whatever wines we love when on vacation, so I’m not without a good pinot; Mom likes to experiment with crockpot oatmeal for breakfast and salsa-infused cheeseburgers for grilling, so I never go hungry. Mom will take Dylan when I need a break, and Dad will brew an extra pot of coffee in the morning when it’s clear I need it. Dad and I got to golf 18 holes the other day and I knew my mom was in heaven watching Dylan the entire time. It sounds like stress-free living.
However, my dad will also tease me that Dylan is spoiled if I go to him when he cries, and my mom will say “Don’t say that” if I give Dylan an unsavory nickname like Stinkerbutt. Neither of them mean any harm, but as a self-conscious new mama, I question everything I’m doing. Furthermore, I find myself sleeping alone in a room with my infant son and worrying about unrealistic dangers, simply because Josh is not with us. What if Dylan stops breathing in the middle of the night? What if he gets stung by a bee? We don’t know if/what he’s allergic to yet. How would I handle an emergency situation without Josh? It suddenly dawns on me that my unfounded fears can no longer be quelled simply by proximity to my mom. Now that I’m a mama, I can never completely zone out, even when I’m with my parents. This is an exhausting, and kind of terrifying, realization. It changes the meaning of vacation for me. It’s not that I can’t relax and enjoy the view of the lake, the evening strolls, and the pumpkin farm. It’s just that I’m beginning to understand how being a parent changes every part of your life, like a chemical reaction that can’t be reversed. As the leaves turn from green to golden, and the Canadian air blows in with a bit more kick, I add one more day as a mama to my repertoire and hope I’ll just get better at this with age. Kind of like a fine wine (without which I couldn’t do any of this.)