No way! Now where’s that Ativan?
Travelling as a family has its unique . . . challenges, but when you’re doing it as a single parent, well, there are some additional logistics to consider. Having informed my coworkers and upper management of my impending trip and then informing the couple of boards of directors I sit on things are feeling a LOT more real. Along with this cementing dose of reality has accompanied a little bit of anxiety. Just a tad. A smidgen. A drop?
Recently I was faced with the possibility of having knee surgery. Since the school Tigger attends is a choice enrollment (not our neighborhood school), there’s no school bus, and we aren’t close enough for him to walk or ride. Even if the mornings weren’t -18C. So in anticipation I began making plans, talking to coworkers and friends to see who could get him to school and back home for that first week when I would be unable to drive. I’d have to stock the fridge and pantry and cook some meals in advance so I could just reheat. Luckily, no surgery needed. But it got me thinking: I’m soon going to be travelling around the globe with just me and a 9-year-old child with anxiety issues.
Before this one of my friends was recently hospitalized for a pretty nasty case of pneumonia while travelling in South America with their preteen twin boys, but her husband was able to stay with the kids. I don’t have the “luxury” of a partner or spouse. Yes, I know some people are envious, but we’re talking about what to do if something happens to me, m’kay?Aside from hospitalizations and similar medical issues, I’m not one of “those” parents. Okay, so that isn’t helpful, is it? I know parents who can’t stand to be away from their children for more than a couple of hours. Well, how do I put this? My favorite time of the day is my son’s bedtime. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love spending time with Tigger. He’s the sunshine of my day and an absolute joy to be around, but I am one of those people who thrives on having some down time or alone time where I don’t have to think about anyone else or their needs. So one of my concerns is what do I do when we’re basically stuck together 24/7? And what will he do? He’s still getting used to be an only child. I was never really a kid, despite my ages saying otherwise, and playing like a 9-year-old is a bit of a mystery to me still. Even if it wasn’t, a dad can’t replace running around screaming on the playground or at McDonald’s PlayLand with a bunch of other kids.
Now that last part we’ve got covered. There are parks, and even when language is a barrier, children don’t see that as a problem. I imagine not doing emotionally challenging work like I’m doing now may reduce my needs for me time, and I’m sure that having these amazing adventures together will make a difference, too, but I still wonder. Sometimes.
In the end the thing we’ve both learned, when it comes right down to it, is to be patient with each other. He’s learned to “take space” when he’s frustrated, needing more quiet, and so on, so when I say I’m taking some space he knows it isn’t punitive. Usually I present it as “I need some space. I love you, and I need to take some space.” No sweat.
What about medical issues? Well, he’s young, small, and flexible. He can always sleep in the bed next to me or sleep in a chair. I’ll have a list of emergency numbers in my bag. He’ll know where it is. If worse comes to worst, he can hand it to someone and ask for help. And, perhaps more importantly, I believe in the global community and that everything always works out for the best. The Universe may be a trickster, but I don’t believe it’s a sadist. I know this trip is right, and so I march on in faith.
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