Travel is no cure for the mind, unless you leave your kids behind
On his blog More to That, Lawrence Yeo wrote a piece called "Travel Is No Cure for the Mind." I loved it, but I think he wrote it before he became a parent.
I wanted to bring our kids to my best friend’s wedding in Sitka, I really did. I love showing them boats and beaches and ocean and all the things we don’t have in Colorado. Plus I wanted to show them off to my friends. But Mariah’s therapist and psychologist prescribed her a trip away from the kids. She could leave me or take me with, that part didn’t matter. Thinking about being in Sitka with the kids, or just the two of us, I thought the kids would make it more of an adventure. I would likely have to be away from them for six weeks again to fish in the summer, so I didn’t want to leave them now when I didn’t have to.
But when we hit the airport security line, I was glad we left them. We snaked back and forth for five minutes straight, probably covering a half mile or more, repassing the same people in the opposing lanes. We would have had to carry our 1 and 3-year-olds to keep up, or bring the massive double stroller.
As it was, we only brought carry-on bags. I took my razor out of my shaving bag, threw away the blade, and put the handle in the bin with my wallet, cellphone, hanky, and iPad. The TSA lady saw the bladeless razor on the screen and looked at me. “Is this yours?” She asked.
“Yeah, I took the blade out of it,” I said, worrying they might take it even without the blade.
“I like you. You’re smart,” she said.
My stuff came through and I slipped on my cowboy boots, zipped my iPad into into my computer bag, shouldered it and my garment bag full of wedding clothes, and met Mariah on the other side.
That’s not how it would have gone with kids.
Would we have brought car seats or would someone have had some we could borrow in Sitka? Would my parents be close enough staying in a hotel two blocks away to help at all? Would we be able to get life jackets for the kids and take them halibut jigging? Would Mariah have to wrangle the kids out of the venue if they threw a fit and miss the ceremony? Would the kids catch COVID from all the anti-vaxxers in attendance?
All questions I don’t need the answers to, because we left the kids behind.
Mariah and I can walk the docks without worrying about our kids drowning or getting snatched by a sea lion. We can go out to eat and talk to each other, and not have to worry about burning through our limited wardrobe with food getting spilled and grabbed and thrown at every meal.
Between leaving the kids and her parents for a week, maybe Mariah will have left enough behind to at least catch her breath, but I don’t expect a cure to her anxiety and depression on this trip. But maybe making a habit of this kind of thing could be treatment enough to send her into remission at least.
And that’s how it went.
We had time with each other to remember why we loved each other so much. Wandering around an unfamiliar town, or schmoozing at one of the many shindigs, we remembered how fun it can be to be teammates.
And we each had time alone, and time apart with the separate bride and groom parties. Time to catch our breath, like catching your breath after a hard workout, when air is delicious and that’s all you need for euphoria.
We each remembered why we’re glad we are who we are. Marriage aside. Kids aside. That’s the first priority. Like air.
Mostly it’s invisible, but without air there’s no sense in seeking water or food.
Air, water, food.
Me, marriage, munchkins.