Thursday, August 30, 2012

17 Sleeps Away

Earlier this month my husband and I did what a lot parents (especially parents of teenagers!) dream about: We went on a two week vacation across Italy and the Czech Republic. And we went alone.

Now, if Noah were fourteen, I wouldn't have batted an eye. But he's not fourteen. He's only four, and being apart is NOT so much fun for either of us at this stage in his development. But we did it, lived to tell about it, and are glad we went!

Eight years ago, we got married young and didn't have a lot of money leftover to spend on a honeymoon. So we kept saying "next summer" over and over again until we were suddenly 30 with a child headed to kindergarten and still no official honeymoon.

We decided this was the summer, and we nervously asked my parents if they would be willing to watch Noah for a 'few weeks' while we flew to Italy to drink lots of wine and eat lots of pasta and act like silly, childless twenty-somethings again.

They were more than happy to, and Noah was excited about going to "Grammy's for seventeen days, because I can do whatever I want!" (Uh, not so fast, Noah!) We quickly sorted out that Grammy and Opa's house was not a place to roam and misbehave and stuff one's face with ice cream for seventeen days straight, despite what previous short, indulgent visits may have led him to believe.

We prepared him well (me? not so much - I bawled at the ferry terminal after hugging him goodbye!) and saw each other on Skype almost every day. He played with his cousins and swam in the ocean and splashed in the sprinkler and was thoroughly spoiled by his grandparents during the 17 days and nights that we were halfway around the world pretending to be kids again.

The adoption-vigilant part of me worried needlessly about the impact of our 'abandonment' of Noah and how it make re-awaken feelings of grief and loss. Honestly, I think he handled our absence better than we did. After all, Grammy and Opa were Noah's foster parents from the time of his birth until his adoption almost seven months later. He'd slept in their home and smelled their food cooking and heard the same voices countless times before. He must have some sub-conscious memory of the place and routines.  

That's not to say there weren't tears, or moments where he demanded our immediate return. He had his share of tantrums and pouts while we were away. But he was all smiles when the trip ended and he leaped into my arms again. I did have to promise to take him with us next time, but that seemed only fair.

We got a wonderful belated honeymoon, and our son got to test out his independence under the watchful eyes of his grandparents.