Family Vacation is an oxymoron. Seriously, like self cleaning or adult male.
I sort of knew it already but this trip solidified it for me. When you have a kid, you don’t go on vacation you just do your job on the road. Now don’t get me wrong, it was still nice to be away from home and its a privilege to be able to travel at all, add Nathan is a very well behaved guy and quite a trooper. However, that doesn’t change the facts. Taking this job on the road isn’t pretty.
I did well in the packing department. I only took a handful of toys that fit in the diaper bag, enough diapers for the first few days, 3 extra outfits and his blanket. The load was pretty light, 2 bags checked, diaper bag, purse and the stroller and Mikes laptop bag, that was the family total. Doable. I didn’t drop a bag or a baby. We were off to a good start.
The weekend was the best part of the trip. We headed to Fort Collins, where Mikes first cousin and family live. We did lots of catching up, playing with the girls (ages 2 and 4) and some wandering around the very quaint and gorgeous area. I liked it there, it was a college town, which I typically love. I asked Mike if there were any job possibilities for him in the area, he said maybe and then laughed. “You want to move to Ft Collins, now?” ” I don’t know, I’ll live almost anywhere, what’s so wrong with wanting to do it with some family around?” The conversation went on in bits for the next few days. On our last day there we were sitting at an outdoor coffee shop having breakfast amongst dogs, kids and bike riders and I was loving it. Mike told me I was kidding myself. “You like it here but you don’t want to live here, Christina. Can you picture yourself riding a bike? Where would you wear all of your shoes?” He was right, I can ride a bike, of course, but this town is not me, the superficial me, rather. Not that there is anything wrong with that but I like my style, I’m not sure I’m ready to trade all of it in for a bike and a pair of Keen’s. Though I’m sure they’re comfortable, and I would love to live near the family and I like the idea of giving up the stuff and the labels, that doesn’t mean I’m ready for it. That also doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t give it a try, either. It just felt good to be there.
Denver was pretty cool. Being there during the week brought me back to when I worked in downtown Seattle. Everyone dressed like they had someplace to go, the bus, the Starbucks on every stinking corner, bike messengers, panhandlers, all of it. It was different though, I was either wearing or pushing my kid wearing lip gloss and flip flops. A long way from the girl on the bus with her shoes in her bag, but she was there. I am still/always adjusting myself to fit who I am becoming, and I felt like I can be both while I was in the city. I can go to the drug store to pick up diapers, stop for a walk in the park and swing by and grab a salad on my way back before getting the baby down for a nap. It was good to juggle our day to day in a totally different setting. When we chose suburbs over city it was for our family. I died a little inside when we made the choice, grass beat out pavement. It was still the right choice, one 10 month old strapped to your chest is as easy as it will get, I know that. It just felt good to be there.
It also sucked. Living in that tiny space was terrible, and it was just 3 days. Nathan didn’t sleep. He didn’t know where he was, anytime he would move the crib would squeak and he’d cry, or he’d wake up on his hands and knees, and cry. Or, he’d just cry. The first night I got through it okay, he was up every few hours and went back down, the second day he didn’t nap at all so the night was horrible, he slept in our bed while I held him, he would cry if I let him go. I didn’t sleep much, holding his sweet, freshly bathed rolls and as tired as I was it was fine that I was up. I realized this would most likely be the last time I get to hold him this way while he is still small. I ate up every passing hour. The final night he slept in the crib but woke up a lot. Last night we got home late, I nursed him down at 11:30 and he slept until 9:30. Today he took his naps just like always. I was worried we were in for it when we got back. I guess he just missed being home.
Home, in the boring, sleepy, flat, lonely suburbs. I suppose it’s just as sweet as in the city. As long as you have your family who needs authentic Indian food when theres a Red Robin just down the road? Somehow, it just feels good to be here, too.
It is so strange to not know where you belong. Ohio is fine, is it home? No, not really. But, I dont know what is anymore. Washington was but we have been gone for eight years now, nothing is the same anymore. It’s been years since I stepped off a plane and felt the feeling of being where I belong. I still feel the draw there but I forget how to get places, places that are in there but I have to fight to remember. I can’t remember the last time I ran into someone I know when we go out. It’s just not the same.
I’ve been trying the “where ever I hang my hat” attitude for years but it doesn’treally work. I just wish I knew what I was looking for. In the meantime, I will continue trying to make our house feel like home, even if Ohio doesn’t quit fit the permanent bill. As long as our little family is together, I will do my best to make sure it feels good, where ever we are.