People always say, “When you have children, you won’t be able to remember what you did with your time before they came along!” That, my friends, did not prove to be true with me. I remember exactly what I did. A whole lot of sleeping, too much sleeping in fact. (Now I am balancing that out with too little sleep.) I read books with a beer on hot days by the lake. I went to bookstores and sat in stuffed arm chairs and read stacks of books for hours on end. I spent the night at my sister’s house, at friends’ houses, to save commuting money. I worked overtime. I had a vegetable garden.
And I traveled. I lived and breathed for traveling. The activities I enjoyed above are things I hope to get back to doing once kiddo is in school. I can even compensate, by listening to audio books, going to book stores with her and reliving my childhood favorites. I may even attempt a vegetable garden again, this summer, or maybe just a pumpkin patch. But the traveling, oh the traveling. The feeling of pure, elated freedom at leaving this country for exotic lands unknown (to me), the melodies of a foreign tongue, the grueling tourist schedule, the haphazard sleeping arrangements, the “think-on-your-feet roll-with-the-punches” mindset that comes with travel setbacks.
I know that I will travel again, and with my daughter along for the ride, but it won’t be soon. For someone who couldn’t stand a year to go by without visiting a foreign land, this feeling is really something to get used to… I admit that when I look at my travel photos, the itch to pack a bag and get up and go is as strong as ever. If I dwell on it too long, I feel almost suffocated, trapped in a world too small and too limited.
And then I remember that I am on perhaps the greatest and most rewarding adventure of my life: parenting. Oh the joys and challenges of watching a little girl grow into herself, the sheer bliss of being her favorite person, the perfect happiness of cuddling her snuggly sleepy little self at night. Sure, it comes with a lot of repetitive cleaning, wiping, and diaper changing. It comes with sticking to a routine for her sake, rather than sleeping on the nearest couch or staying up late and sleeping in. It comes with a lot of responsibility, financial costs, and not just a little heartache. It’s a wild ride, with the best intentions, unexpected highs and lows, and a ton of memories. Just like traveling, but for life!
This travel-starved wanderer can tell you this: it’s worth it. And I will have plenty of fun trips planned for us as soon as we have an adoption, and some funds to work with!