Monday, January 28, 2008

Six-month Surprise

My husband told me tonight about a very special anniversary surprise he has for me. To understand what it means to me you have to know that we spent our 5th anniversary climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. On our last night he remembers me telling him, "For our next vacation, I want to go to the beach!" Really, I was just desperate after spending six nights sleeping on hard frozen ground and seven days of the toughest hiking in my life to feel warm and be lazy. Lucy arrived shortly after that adventure, and though we have taken other trips to fun and adventurous places, we just haven't made our way to the coast yet.

Tonight he told me that he has made arrangements for us to take a little trip to celebrate our 10th anniversary! Through someone he knows from work he has arranged a very nice place for us to stay in Southern California--near the BEACH! He has already called my mom to see if she would come out here to take care of the kids while we are there. He even showed it to me on Google Earth, and together we scoped out the closest shopping area and where he was told a nice coffee shop is, and how to get to the best place on the BEACH. Have I mentioned yet that there's a BEACH???

So, we're going for our anniversary. In July.

Yes, he surprised me by telling me in January so that I have six months to not only look forward to it, but also to prepare myself mentally for spending several days away from my children.

I am most definitely looking forward to it! I can already envision myself lying for hours on the hot sand and listening to the waves, perhaps holding some fruity drink with an umbrella or an iced mocha in my hand. And doing nothing. And maybe a couple of times we'll get to go to a restaurant and I can order whatever I want and take my time to eat it all myself. With both hands. Maybe we will venture inside some interesting shop with tons of breakable things. And take our time admiring it all. And sleep. And nap. And do nothing. And carry with me nothing more than my chapstick and sunglasses. Oh, and have I mentioned the BEACH?

He has left it up to me to decide, of two options, how long we will go. Fortunately I have plenty of time to figure out how long I think my kids will survive without me, or how long I will survive without them. I'm not so worried about Lucy. We spent two nights away from her when Josiah was born, but we still saw her each day. She had so much fun she barely missed us, but that was the first time we'd spent a night apart. (We just didn't have a reason to until then.) But this trip will be just before Joey's first birthday, and we won't be able to explain it to him like we will to Lucy. Will he miss me? Will I miss any major milestones, like his first steps? Will he know that I'll be back soon?

So I have six months to think about how my baby will do without me and wonder how long is too long to be gone from him. For the nursing moms out there, you know of course I'll have to consider the issue of pumping enough milk to last the amount of time we are away, and to know that I'll be spending time pumping while I'm in California, too, to keep up my supply. And then comes the burning question: will he nurse again after I return? (Good thing my mom is a lactation consultant so I can ask her professional opinion on these things, though I know her knowledge isn't a crystal ball and she probably can't give me the definite answer I'm looking for.)

As much as you think that a "surprise" that doesn't materialize for six months is kind of weird, it gives me great comfort to know that my husband knows me and understands the way I think and that I need time to consider all of these things. A month or two would have been plenty, really, but the best part is that he just didn't think he could keep it to himself any longer. Isn't that sweet?

California, here we come! Well, soon. Sort of.

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