If the definition of irony is the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning, then surely there should appear a subnote underneath stating simply: holidaying with children.
The chapters of any day with small people whether you are in your own home or frolicking upon the most glamorous cruise ship in the Mediterranean are the same: A day based around feeding kids and settling kids and finding kids places to sleep and refereeing tantrums over, you know, the fact that they don’t want tomatoes in their lunch. We went bush walking yesterday and Ella wailed for half of it because her boots had mud on them. Tragic stuff, obviously. Joel refuses to endorse princess behaviour and I back him completely, so they had a Mexican stand-off in the middle of the woods. I looked on half bored, half amused as he made her at least walk to the next tree before he took them off.
As we go through these tedious motions, it can always feel a little worse on holidays because WOOHOOO WE’RE FREEE. Oh wait, WE’RE SO NOOOOT. We dip our toes in the promise of time off and out but the truth is, we are bound to our kid’s needs over our own right now and as a result, whether we like it or not, they are the bosses of us. Billy especially so because he’s still brand new, and brand new equals very tight binding. He absolutely calls the shots on my day-to-day rhythm and I fight myself daily not to feel trapped by his needing so much of me. Mostly I love the attachment, but when Joel and Ella are out giggling in horse paddocks, or floating in boats upon lily pad covered lakes, or making campfires on the side of a hill while I’m stuck nursing and settling, it takes a mental re-wiring to force myself not to be the tiniest bit resentful. Such is the commitment of mothering, and while I hurl myself through the demands this places on me, against the very little change it imposes on my partner, I remind myself that yes, I have it way harder, but I also get most, if not all, the reward. And that reward is a feeling. A feeling I know Joel misses out on. So I knuckle down because I know it’s not forever and I try to find gratitude in being the life support to my tiny baby — the tiny baby who can’t allow me to venture too far and who challenges me to grapple with the concept of what it means to be free.
Still, Joel and I have promised each other two hours off each day, where we each get to escape and breathe and well, pray, usually. And by pray, I mean shop. God is not just found in churches, but rather everywhere you look, and always, I’ve noticed, in the racks of clothes at Brauer Bird.
We’re staying on a quaint little farm near Byron. We feed the horses carrots every morning, collect chicken eggs, hide from cows because they’re apparently scary and take the boat out on a beautiful lake near our cottage.
The horses took a little while to get comfy with. What started as all cling-to-our-legs, in about ten minutes she was bossing the other little girl who was with us out the way so she could brush them and walk them. She inherits that from Joel, I’m sure of it.
It was Joel’s birthday yesterday. We slept in til 10, went out for a late brunch, idled the afternoon away sipping gin and tonics under the palm trees at Watego’s beach and ended the day tangled together under fresh crisp sheets.
We woke at 5, like we do every day, but instead of swatting absently at the kitchen hoping to come into contact with the coffee machine’s ‘on’ button, I flung open the curtains to reveal the most romantic sunrise spreading across the valley and we all snuggled under the blankets of our great big bed singing happy birthday to the man we love. Well, Billy slept. And Ella kept asking when she’d be eating cake, but I sung. And Joel appreciated the sentiment.
Joel’s birthday, in photos, and a few more of our time here so far:
Hoping you all are having a lovely week so far, and an exciting little ann0uncement that our Bec is back in the tent tomorrow with a new post for us all. I might have cried a little when I read it for the first time. Okay, I definitely did.
Happy day, friends. Go grab some good.