Four days of intense travel. A total of 10 hours on the road, 4 and a half hours in airplanes, an hour in a taxi. Hours spent in hotel rooms, trying to keep 3 little kids entertained in such a small space.
Taking them to a park in Vancouver where the ground was squishy mud, Aedan getting his boots full of puddle water just 2 hours before his appointment at the diabetes clinic. Me, most unprepared parent ever, even after 5 years of parenting, not having a spare pair of shoes for him. Drying his boots out in the hotel bathroom with the hair dryer.
P and I switching off for the appointments: he and Aedan first while I try to get Charlie to nap, Treehouse keeping Colm quiet, sort of. Then my turn: taking an unhappy 3 year old to his appointment with the allergist. 2 hours in a room at the clinic, giving his history to a resident. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting in that little room to finally have a chat with the Doctor. Forms signed, skin test finally completed, we’re free.
Walking to the Japanese restaurant in the rain, the server not understanding my requests for plain tofu for my allergic son, getting the battered tofu…ordering endless sides of rice, rice dumped on the floor, imagined side-eye from the mom with the calm kids at the table next to us. Impatient husband. Octopus baby in my lap. In the highchair. Back in my lap. Repeat for 4 days.
Crying baby in the truck, she hates the car seat. Puking baby, I don’t know why. Roadside stops to pee. Roadside stops to clean up puke.
The herd of elk just south of Braeburn Lake. Stopping the truck so the boys could get their fill of the animals nosing through the thin layer of snow, tearing at dried grass with teeth, totally unconcerned by our presence.
The two linx P and I saw playing at the side of the road near Tintina Trench. They ducked into the ditch before the boys could spot them, before I could wrestle my phone from the baby to snap a photo. Some things are meant to be experienced fleetingly. All things, maybe.
Tumbling back into our reality, except it’s all our reality, isn’t it? Back to work, back to school. Fighting about school. Wrestling him into his clothes. Mindlessly eating. Pulling myself back. What do I need to do on these days when I Google hopeless things like “how to survive when you hate being a parent”? Google can’t tell me. You can’t tell me. Only I can. Only I know. Come back to the breath. Go easy on myself. Get outside for a moment. Write. Right here, write. Read a poem. Root deeper when you want to run away.
Dig in, because this is it.