How the Other Half Live

I recently got an offer I couldn’t refuse: an all-expenses paid 4-day weekend in Naples, Florida with Bubby and Auntie Loz. I think my family were feeling sorry for me. I was feeling sorry for myself. I really needed to get away from my daily routine and have some quiet time on the beach with my thoughts and a book. That or a gigantic cocktail of the kind in which they specialize in Florida.

I did hesitate though. How could I leave my Bean? What would the boys do without me? Surely the house would blow up and Gavin would weep himself to sleep every night whilst clutching a picture of dearest Mama. But. Craig told me to go. I knew that I had to go and enjoy it, not go and feel guilty, and so I decided to go. I couldn’t possibly tell Gavin that I was going to Florida. He has no clue where or what Florida is, he just knows that Bubby and Da have a house there and go often on an airplane. We went through a stage awhile ago in which we pretended to fly there every day, so I wasn’t about to inform him that I was going without him.

So we spun it as “Boys Weekend, No Girls Allowed.” This campaign was so successful that he didn’t miss me in the slightest. When I left for the airport I almost sobbed onto his little shoulder, but he shrugged me off as he was busy playing Lego with Da. Are you going on an airplane? he asked. I must admit that we lied through our teeth, but he was very suspicious.

Daddy had a couple of days off work and put me to shame in keeping house and Bean-watching duties. Craig and Da took Gavin to the zoo and to the ROM. Apparently there was a lot of chanting of Boys Weekend, Boys Weekend! The only time I spoke to Gavin our conversation went like this:

Me: Hi, baby, how are you?!?

Gav: Can I use the yellow box?

Me: What?

Craig: He wants to know if he can use the open box of baking soda in his “cooking.” I said no.

Me: Daddy said no so you can’t use it.

Gav: Okay, Bye!

Me: Wait, don’t you want to talk to me? Do you miss me?

Gav: I’m missing Mummy. But I’m busy and I want to hang up now. Bye!

I shouldn’t have worried. So I hopped on an evening flight and settled into my first flight in years in which I was alone and could quietly read a book or watch a movie and not come out the other end with snacks smeared all over me, completely frazzled from entertaining a babe for hours on end.  (Toronto to Sydney, 13 months old. ‘Nuff said.)

Being blasted with hot, humid air upon exiting an airport in the middle of winter is a sublime joy that only Canadians, or perhaps Norwegians, can properly understand. My sister and I kept sniffing the sweet scent of flowers like we were getting high. And I couldn’t help the gleeful little voice inside of me saying Ha ha suckers! to all my parka-clad friends at home. After spending most of last summer inside an air-conditioned hospital cell, donning flip-flops and a sun-hat felt like a religious rite.

Naples is truly how (and where) the other half live. Last year I went there for the first time. Sans Bean, on this trip I enjoyed leisurely meals and wandered in shops where I can’t afford to buy anything. At one housewares store, we chose new soap dishes for Bubby’s house, and put quite a few back that were over $200. When you’ve got money to burn, you apparently build a 12,000 sq. ft house in Florida and outfit it with designer soap dishes not made of any discernible precious metal. Then you visit it once a year as you rotate between your other gorgeous properties. Life!

I was more than happy to wander tree-lined streets, eat frozen custard, and splash in the ocean. By myself. For the first time in over three years, I was away from Gavin for more than a night. I took 15-minute showers. I read my book. I ate breakfast peacefully and did not argue with anyone about getting in and out of the car or putting on shoes. I put on my own make-up without a little boy “helping” me with my lip-gloss.  I lay in the sun and didn’t worry about putting sunscreen on anyone but myself. I didn’t do any laundry, and barely prepared a meal. In short, it was a vacation!

I came back late at night and slept in the other room so as not to disturb. I had no sooner fallen asleep at around 2:30 when I heard a little voice saying I need a big hug, I need a big hug. After a few minutes I HAD to go in, and as soon as I entered I heard, Oh, Mama’s back! I scooped him up and kissed his beautiful tube-ified face, and slept next to him, nose to nose. And woke up at 7:00 for another full-on day with Bean. Holidays wear off pretty quickly I find!

There is much to report on the medical front but that will wait for another day. He is happy and well and we are going to our first physio appointment tomorrow!


6 Responses to “How the Other Half Live”

  1. Michelle Robinson says:

    hooray for you!! Ivy asked after Gavin today & is preparing him a package. he has a little legion of fans at our place!

  2. Amanda says:

    This was so beautiful to read Erica. I am so so happy that you got some time to yourself…and that you got to soak up such relaxing moments. Glad you are back safe. I am so looking forward to seeing you.
    abrazos and hugs to your boys
    Amanda xoxo

  3. Anonymous says:

    Happy to hear you had such a relaxing time, Erica.

  4. Monica says:

    God I loved reading this post! Had such a thrill having a glimpse into your vacation and you doing things for yourself. So good.

    Love Mon

  5. sarah says:

    so happy for you that you got to have a little time to yourself in a beautiful place. loved reading this.

  6. Mairi says:

    Delighted to hear of your little slice of “Erica time.” Sorry I haven’t been commenting but we had some technical difficulties thet are now resolved. Still with your daily in prayer.

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