First Vacation for Spina Bifida Mom Since Baby

In Dis Abled Mom, Family by Amy Blanchard

Ella is fast approaching her 4th birthday. She’s growing up. No longer can I pretend that she’s a toddler – she’s definitely a little girl.

She’s more independent than ever and I have considerably less worries regarding the physical activity of taking care of her. Ella is able to help me a lot more than she used to, which is a truly wonderful thing.

All great, yes. But weird too. Surreal, even. My little lady seems so confidently set with her life right now while I’m the anxiously worrying little girl crying in the corner.

Uh oh. She’s moving up to a new pre-kindergarten class! Will she enjoy it? Will she make new friends? Um, yeah. No problem at all. Oh, and we’re thinking of putting the cats up for adoption.

Won’ t Ella freak ou

t? Will she feel like we’re getting rid of a part of our family – and maybe we would get rid of her next? Nope. She doesn’t care – whatever.

So, what’s left for a mom like me to do but – oh, I don’t know – maybe reclaim some of myself again? And maybe even focus a little on my relationship with my husband? Whoa! What a concept.

With that in mind…. happy October! That means, for Hubby and I, VACATION! A Bermudan cruise, to be exact. If you’re reading this during the first week of the month, then right now Hubby and I are either relaxing in the sun, enjoying the beautiful Bermudan landscape, or are engorging ourselves on the endlessly wide assortment of cruise ship culinary delights.

Or, if it’s a bit later in October at this point for you, then know that we are safely home again with our Sweetie and that we’ve most certainly lavished upon her all sorts of fun vacation gifts.

This trip marks Hubby and my first “real” vacation in years. And neither of us has ever been on a cruise before. So we are definitely excited about the week’s excursion and the opportunity to sit back, relax, eat, drink and be merry – all while being transported to an exotic, tropical location.

What could be better?! I’m sure we’re having/have had an absolutely wonderful time and are very sad to get back to reality.

But the days leading up to our romantic getaway – the days we’re currently winding our ways through as I write this – are a different story all together. Sadness and even fear are going through my body and mind.

In fact, since the moment we booked the cruise back in May, I’ve been dreading the fact that our vacation away means leaving Ella behind.

Saturday to Saturday – 8 days without my Sweetie. The longest stretch of time we’ve ever been apart. I don’t know how it’s going to go.

As I write this, we are still about three weeks away from our departure. I’m doing what I can to prepare Ella for her own special vacation with Nana and Papa Dave and to help her understand that Mommy and Daddy are going on a different vacation without her.

We recently watched a special about the Disney cruise ships. I took that opportunity to tell Ella about the big boat Mommy and Daddy will be on while she has fun staying at Nana’s house.

I also pointed out that, if we like our boat trip, maybe in a few years the three of us can go on a Mickey Mouse cruise all together! Yay!

I also made Ella her very own “Ella’s Super Vacation Calendar” – a place where she can mark off the days until vacation, and then record all the fun things she does during her stay.

When I presented the idea to her to make this, she was all for it and totally excited. But I ended up doing all the work. She quickly got distracted and went off to play something else.

As for the end product, she politely complimented my efforts, watched me hang it on the fridge, and very quickly forgot all about it. Oh well.

So, yeah…. She’s well aware of the impending events. But does she care? From what I can tell – no, not really.

Basically I’m getting from her the feeling of, Big deal, Mommy. So what – you and Daddy are going away and I’m going on vacation to Nana’s house. Tell me something I might care a little about, would ya?.

Do we see a pattern here? From daycare changes to cat problems to vacation plans –Mommy’s freaking out about the impact of all the Big Changes while Ella smoothly glides through her days without a care or a worry in sight. Ah, to be that carefree again…. What a way to live!

This leaving Ella thing has definitely been a reoccurring problem for me. I remember when Hubby and I went on a mini vacation to Montreal when she was about 15 months old. We were only going to be gone for half a week, yet I was beside myself with sadness about leaving my baby.

About a week or so prior to that trip, I called my cousin and told her how tough it was going to be for me to leave Ella. While she was somewhat sympathetic, mostly my cousin couldn’t understand why I wasn’t looking forward to this rare time alone with my husband.

Hah! Little did she know, at the time, the way your heart tugs at you when you’re a mom. Now a mom herself, I almost think she’s more leery about leaving her daughter than I am about leaving mine!

But I made it through that Montreal trip just fine. Ella did well at my parents’ house (heck, she was too young to know any better anyway) and Hubby and I had a nice, relaxing time away.

Likewise for this current vacation, I’m sure everything will turn out well and all interested parties will enjoy their new surroundings and have exciting vacation adventures to share upon return.

Anyway, Hubby and I definitely need this opportunity to reconnect. Imagine – a whole week to focus only on ourselves – as individuals and as a married couple. For one week we will be Scott and Amy. Not Mommy and Daddy.

There will be no fights about getting little girls dressed and out the door in the morning. No arguments about what exactly Ella needs to eat for dinner in order to earn a dessert.

And, thank Goodness, no Blue’s Clues, Sesame Street or Dora making sing-song noises in the background.

Just us. Just relaxing. Just doing whatever it is we want to do, for ourselves and for each other, while we celebrate seven wonderful years as husband and wife.

Okay, so maybe this won’t be such a tough week after all. Ella will do fine, I’m sure. I probably won’t do quite as well, at first. But I’m thinking that, not long after we set sail, my worries and sadness will float away on the waves and I’ll luxuriate in my surroundings, enjoying the opportunity to reclaim some all important “me time” as well as some romantic “we time”.

Ahhhh. Now I really can’t wait!

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