Friday, January 29, 2016

Parenting while traveling...AKA extreme letting go

I recently did something that many people warned me about. They told me K was too young, that he wouldn't remember it, and that it will be hard. Don't call it a vacation, they said. Don't try to do too much, they cautioned.

Well, I did it. I took my three year old to Europe (Paris and Barcelona). My mother traveled with me and my younger brother at the same age, to far more dangerous countries, and she said that it was a great idea.

We went because the Universe conspired to arrange for us to go. I had the idea that I wanted to go to the Airbnb Open and it seemed like a pipe dream and yet, moment after moment seemed to clear away ALL the obstacles (include some financial obstacles AND in Paris, a terrorist attack!).

I love Europe. I love it in a way that I can't always explain. And J loves it too. So why not bring K, whom we also both love, to the place we both love?

Because you know this blog is about letting go, and you know by now that I always start out with grand ideas, you can assume that more grand ideas were laid to rest while abroad.

I thought my kid would sleep on the plane. I thought we'd be able to eat gluten free. I thought my kid would eat food other than the SAME food he eats at home. I thought he would be able to handle crazy hours, no naps, and long hours of walking (this was just my fault for not really understanding how much I walk in Europe---6-9 miles a day!).

That all faded as the trip went on. By the time we returned on the plane, I was more than comfortable allowing my kid to zone out for 10 hours (well, eight, because c'mon, he needed one nap!), he ate what he would eat, we carried him a lot more (because 9 miles of walking is a lot for anyone, especially ones with little legs), and the frequent outbursts and tantrums were just par for the course.

I had not planned on K pronouncing "croissant" in a French accent, or his playground radar to be so accurate (there are SO many playgrounds in the big European cities!), or his Metro/subway riding to become so adept. Relatively speaking, he was awesome. It was still hard for me to simply focus more on parenting than enjoying Europe, but for the most part, he went out late with us and got up early with us and marveled at the same things we did. We have initiated a world traveler.

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