Although I left my ex-husband one year ago (last week was the one-year anniversary of the split; next Saturday is the one-year anniversary of my moving out...I can't believe I've lived all by myself (for the first time ever) for an entire year already), I had not taken Ash on vacation or road trip yet. Sure, we'd had long weekends around town, and last Thanksgiving I had him for almost a full week while we visited my family in Mesa, but we hadn't done anything bigger than that.
Well, for Labor Day weekend, we were given a gift of a trip, and I decided we'd hit the ocean.
Okay, seven hours in the car with a four-year-old? I was less than thrilled, and downright paranoid it was going to be hell on my nerves. But it wasn't. I prepared well, and he was psyched to be going to the ocean. Plus, I decided to leave Friday night, which meant he slept for half the drive. (Score one for Mom!) And the drive back was a breeze, too, even though it was daytime (thank goodness for a mini/portable DVD player and DVDs from the library!).
Do you know what it means to be a single mom on vacation with your preschooler? It means YOU have to carry the (incredibly heavy) stuff from the car down to the beach, all the while herding a child who is infinitely more interested in stopping every few feet to examine something "cool." It means sore shoulders, because you don't want to have to herd said child back UP the stairs for a second trip, so you load EVERYTHING on you for one trip, which means a backpack and two camping chairs and a cooler and the umbrella. And why is it that all the parking for every beach in CA is up a hill? Why do you have to take stairs for every beach? Do you know how HELLISH that is?!
It means families are frolicking all around you - a mom with a dad and two or three (or more) children. It means watching in envy as the "men" in the family lug the heavy stuff with the moms only have to worry about corralling their children.
It means no actual rest or vacation - it means eternal vigilance.
It means getting totally sunburned, because little four-year-old hands have no way of being able to completely smear sunscreen across your ENTIRE back.
It means you have to think through all the logistics and make all the decisions. Note to self: next time, call ahead before visiting a mission, to see if they take credit cards. No cash = no mission :(
Man, I must have been one lazy mama before. I realized that I really did let my ex make all the decisions. And carry all the heavy stuff. And do all the driving, for that matter - this was only the second road trip (of hundreds, literally thousands of hours on the road (ok, maybe SLIGHT exaggeration - but not really)) where I drove for longer than two hours.
I am now back at work, totally exhausted. I am happy beyond belief and totally satisfied. We did it. No major meltdowns - for either of us. (Although, somehow, we both ended up with a rash of smallish bumps on our torsos...)
Other good news - my cardiologist told me this morning that the heart issues I've been having are caused by an extra beat in my lower chamber, and since my heart is structurally sound and very healthy, she is not concerned. She gave me the green light to run to my heart's content :)