I feel like every second of the last 2 weeks has been filled with something. I'd venture to say that probably 95% of those "somethings" have been completely amazing! Dan, and two of our greatest friends in the world, Caleb and Marci Larsen, ventured to Italy, France with a pit stop in Monaco on our European road trip.
We, along with our luggage, crammed ourselves into a Fiat Panda (why don't I have a picture of this?!) and spent many hours venturing from one amazing city to another, stopping in a couple quaint villages and planning how easily we could live in the countryside drinking wine, tending our gardens and having a morning cafe at the local coffee shop. I could make the longest post right now detailing the amazing things we did and saw, but I'm going to be breaking it up over the next few months.
Taking an amazing vacation like this means being away from Jack. Whoa. There was a serious ebb and flow of missing the little man. There were many times we'd say, "Aw, I wonder what Jack's doing," and even a few times where we were so wrapped up in what we were doing where a thought about him would pop in my head and it would surprise me that I hadn't thought about him in a few hours.
Seriously, this bundle of all kinds of cute is impossible not to miss!
Most of the time, he was on the forefront of my mind. I was constantly on the hunt for little trinkets for him, clothes that I wanted for him, etc. I would see other little kids, which would give me a good dose of cuteness which would dull the ache of missing my baby. And of course, there were a few times where it hurt so bad being away from him. I felt guilty, and often wondered how he'd react when we got back. I mean, he's just barely past 1 year old, and knowing what he's thinking it a constant guessing game! Would he be mad at me for being gone so long? Would he not want to go home with us because life was fine without us? I know this sounds crazy, but they were honest to goodness concerns. The daily schedule that is so routine for us was something I missed. Mornings cuddling on the couch, conversations at lunch, the laughter, the random hugs and kisses, reading books and singing songs at bedtime...Our last night in Marseille, France was rough. We'd had a long day walking around, exploring, etc and I was exhausted and I simply couldn't ignore the ache in my heart. I just wanted to cuddle him and for him to know we still existed. I pestered my family throughout the trip to show him our picture regularly, and I called my mom that night in tears telling her I wanted to come home and once again asking her to show Jack our picture.
The few really hard moments were totally worth it. I think it was a wonderful thing for us, and for Jack, and my family as well. It was quite easy to temporarily fall back into the routine of not worrying about going to bed early in order to be ready for Jack's morning wake-up, to be totally okay with another glass of wine, to eat a meal without having to cut up/feed Jack, to carry a SMALL purse with my phone and my wallet and some lip gloss...
While Dan has gone away on business trips I've never been away from him like this! A big reason was because I've been breastfeeding and leaving for an extended period of time when I've got "the goods" on me isn't really doable. Weaning was a very natural and gradual process for us, and Jack was done nursing the week before we left. The timing was perfect. My parents and sister were so excited to share the duty of watching the little ball of energy for the 10 days we were gone. He is such a chill guy, and he was great for them. He's at the perfect age where he just goes with the flow. It was so good for his Nana, Poppy and Auntie to have so much quality time with him - especially at a point where he is just now exploding with curiosity, his jibberish language which is making more sense every day, and a true sense of exploration. They even lucked out and got to take him trick-or-treating in the spider costume I made for him, and from what I hear he was the hit of the party!
We came home, and while he did cry (from shock, perhaps) in the morning when we went in to get him, he wouldn't let me put him down for a long time. A vacation was wonderful for all of us, and we can all attest to the fact that absence truly makes the heart grow fonder, even when you didn't think it was possible.