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Vacation sans baby? Hardly worth it.

I haven’t taken a vacation since I got pregnant with Bun Bun. Yeah, I did a quick jaunt to New Mexico, but that was a Familyobligationpalooza, not a vacation. And I find that things have changed. I guess that’s not surprising. My whole life has changed. Still, it was an interesting study in contrast.

I have years worth of pictures of myself in various lovely places, but when I look at them, all I think about is where I was in my journey to parenthood. Oh, there I am feeling surprisingly depressed because our first real attempt at conception had failed! Hey, look at me standing on that beach not knowing that I was pregnant and about to not be, and to not be for a long time. Oh, there I am eating that interesting thing and feeling absolutely shitty about my barrenness!

So I guess to me, vacations come with a veneer of depression, because for a long time I had to exert energy to attempt to enjoy myself, and all the habits of averting one’s gaze from pregnant bellies and babies and children take more strength in unfamiliar surroundings, when you never know if you’re about to stumble into a nest of mothers with strollers. Vacations are about being sad, right?

This one was not about being sad. It was about feeling vaguely angsty all the time because I was separated from my child. And I did not avert my gaze from indices of parenthood, I found myself starting at every baby, seeking them out in a crowd. BABY! I’d say. And Mr. Bunny and I would gaze at the baby. What a change. And yes, I’m in the magical position of not needing to envy anyone, what with my many, many babies. Which is also bizarre.

I was also surprised to find that I no longer miss living in Chicago. I mean, I’m not an urban person and have never dreamt of living in the midst of a city, but on previous trips back there, I’d always had a wistful feeling. Oh, it’s so vibrant! The people, the noise, the movement, the sheer size! Oh, my lame little city is so lame and little! This time, I was like, Eh. Even if I did live here, I’d mainly hang out in my house and play with my baby. I wonder what my baby is doing right now

I’m glad I did it, because it’s useful to know I can survive, and I had a distracted species of fun. But I wonder if, looking back at the couple of photos we took, I’ll see that angst in my eyes, and primarily remember how much I missed my child.

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. You are braver than I. I think my first was like 2 before I left for 2 days for a work conference. The second time I left was when she was 3.5. I was gone for 5 days for work-hated it. Then after number 2 came, number 1 went to grandmas for 5 days. That was ok. I can’t imagine leaving number 2 yet. How did bun bun do?

    March 15, 2012
  2. I’m impressed that you were able to vacation and enjoy it – a little. It’s very nice to know you can survive. I’m so anxious about a day and evening out about 3 weeks out that I now realize I should have done this awhile ago…

    March 15, 2012
  3. We’ve been out to dinner twice since O was born, and spent much of both evenings talking about him, mooning over him (at a distance) and wondering how he was doing with his grandmother. (Absolutely fine, as it turns out). I can’t imagine how we’d be if we were gone a few days. At the same time I think it’s very good to do it. For a little one-on-one time but also to prove that you can, as you say. And your point about Chicago is well-taken. Any city, really. One of the reasons why we’re looking forward to greener pastures (if not an equivalent choice in good takeout).

    March 15, 2012
  4. Ana #

    Sorry the vacation was angst-ridden, but I totally think I’d be doing the same…next time, bring Bun Bun with you, you should all 3 go on a new-baby-moon (or single-child-no-more for her!)

    March 15, 2012
  5. Hahah. Well I am glad you were able to enjoy yourself…of sorts. I am sure thoughts of bun bun kept you from really cutting loose and being like a “normal” vacationing person, whatever that might be like.
    I have a huge big city draw. I LOVE cities. I want to be urban. But the other night on my walk when I realized it was just me and the quiet amidst all these little surburban homes I thought to myself ‘this is pretty darn nice’.

    March 15, 2012
  6. SRB #

    Okay – good stuff. We’re starting to get the whole “When are you two going to go away for the weekend? LEAVE HIM WITH US!” from some, um, people. And I don’t want to! It’s normal to want to be near my kid 24/7 right? Right?

    I totally feel you on the ‘vacation veneer’. It’s more like “life veneer” but we don’t take pictures of ourselves crying in the bathroom over a PIO vial. We have a picture on our fridge from before we get married and *that* makes me sad because sometimes I think “Hi me! I miss you.” Ugh. I am SO glad to read that this jaunt was enjoyable – gives me another little nudge to get the hell over myself already. I find I smile at pregnant ladies and wave to babies now too. Former me judges current me. And vice versa – in a good way!

    March 15, 2012
  7. My Mom had this cross stitched framed thing in her house that reads “Home is where the heart is” – funny how “Home” can change so drastically based on where you are in life.

    Sans baby getaways are hard. One would think it would be so amazing to have some grown up time in a beloved place but the entire time it feels like something (someone) is missing. I’ve been there. When we came back the neighbor commented on it being the first time she ever heard the baby cry from inside.

    March 15, 2012
  8. I am sitting here shaking my head at your first three paragraphs. There is truth there, lady. In a couple of hours we are leaving for our first non-familyobligationpalooza vacation in over 3 years — a long weekend that I planned specifically to distract me from the fact that on Sunday or Monday this particular Very Long 2 Weeks will be over. Ugh, here I go mucking up your nice blog with my junk.

    Are you glad you went on the trip? It sounds like even if it wasn’t “fun” (what is this “fun?”) all the time, it at least gave you a minute to get your bearings and look at how you’re feeling about things.

    March 16, 2012
  9. You know, I remember the pictures of you when you went to the conference in Germany and even if we can’t see your face on the pictures, you look different than more recent ones, with Bun Bun and Bunlet. You’ll telll me it’s because the shots are always of you below the neck and in the more recent ones you are pregnant. Yes, that’s true, and I also find that there is something more relaxed about your body in the more recent pictures. I know it’s kind of ridiculous to say this, but you already know I’m ridiculous, so why not be myself.

    Anyways, what a sea change for you. It must be amazing to experience these life transformations. Vacations are a good time to look at where things are at in one’s life. They are like punctuation marks. It sounds like this little semi-colon gave you the opportunity to reflect on how much you love your life where it is.

    March 16, 2012
  10. Conceptionally Challenged #

    It sounds lovely — you have everything you want at home, so why travel?
    Also, I completely missed the Bunlet part — congratulations!! I’m so happy for you.

    March 17, 2012

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