It’s evening in paradise. Today I stood by the ocean, reading the “beware of the rip tides” signs and observing the plentiful red warning flags, and thought: so stunning and so dangerous. Nature’s paradox.
There were instructions posted on what to do if you were swept out to sea.
1. Don’t panic!
Followed by a swim guide for a safe return to shore.
After months of hearing that traveling with a baby is “so easy” and “the best”, I’m calling it. Guys, this is not easy.
Baby F is a full time job and that job continues here, just with better scenery. She is with us everywhere we go, as she should be. That includes the beach which is hot and terrifyingly loud for her, the pool which is a touch too cool, the shuttle bus which is surprisingly comfortable but also totally unsafe.
Everywhere, she’s nursing or crying or cooing or just being a baby. Cooped up in our arms or her stroller, she gets restless and wants to explore. In public parks, in fine dining establishments, the hotel lobby. I’m looking around constantly to see if we’re making anyone annoyed, uncomfortable or both.
I’m deprived of sleep. I’m not at my best, uncharacteristically irritable. Craving time alone.
I see other mothers. For the first time, I really see them. I see them rubbing sunscreen on their kids. Watching their toddlers go down the water slide again and again. And again. Patiently folding the towels, packing up the beach things to head back to the hotel. Making sure everyone is safe and fed and having a good time. Doing their best.
I see other couples. The ones without kids, the young ones. They are rested, they are getting tipsy. They are fresh as they recharge -from their work, with their partner. Well fed and probably well sexed. Remember?
The sweet slow drip of time is changing all of us. Into the next incarnation of ourselves. So gradual you can barely feel it.
Until you land in paradise.
And manage to feel more anxious because you couldn’t very well bring the jumperoo. But oh how you wish you could have!
Now all you want is a glass of wine and a good night’s sleep. A short break from all this responsibility that came along as a package deal… with the ocean of pure love you jumped headfirst into – arresting beauty and breathtaking power – the day your kid was born.
Welcome to the new normal.
Dangerous. And yet.
Through the fog of too little sleep and the inconvenience of being in a foreign place with a tiny human, you are grateful every day. Achingly so. For that spectacular ocean of love.