Back in April, Carlos and I began planning a vacation for the fall, sans Sophia. To be honest, I would have felt more comfortable bringing Sophia, but I knew that it would be good for our marriage to spend some time together without Sophia and I knew that it would be beneficial to me personally. So before I could change my mind, I bought our plane tickets to Chiapas and asked my parents if they’d be interested in babysitting their favorite granddaughter for a week in September (it wasn’t hard to convince them!).
The next few months, every time I thought our upcoming trip, I simultaneously felt both excitement and dread. Excited to see Chiapas and travel somewhere new with Carlos while dreading spending the most time I’ve spent apart from Sophia since, well, ever.
Finally, after a wonderful weekend spent at a lake house near Austin with my family, it was Monday night and time for us to put Sophia to bed and say goodbye to her. I had thought I might cry, but I didn’t. I knew she’d be safe with my parents. Next, I started to pack and couldn’t believe how quickly I finished. Maybe this whole traveling-without-Sophia thing would actually be great. We went to sleep and around 1:30, I woke up to Sophia screaming and decided to pull her into bed with me to quiet her down. She wanted me in mom mode up until the very last second, I guess.
We arrived in Chiapas and I promised myself to try to be present in the moment, whatever it was, and not spend every second of the trip thinking or worrying about Sophia. I knew that I would be okay when I woke up our first morning in Chiapas after a delicious, totally unplanned 13 hours of sleep. Obviously, time away was something I needed.
The next few days passed by in a flurry of activity. We toured lakes and took pictures at the Guatemala border and saw crocodiles and spider monkeys at the Cañon del Sumidero. We talked a lot, sometimes about Sophia, but mostly about hopes and dreams and what we think the future might hold for our family. And on Sunday, two days before we left, we celebrated my 30th birthday with a delicious dinner and as I sat there, I realized how content I felt. Sure, the night before I had gone down a rabbit hole of watching videos from Sophia’s first year of life and before I knew it, tears were streaming down my cheeks I missed her so much. But as a whole, I had thoroughly enjoyed our trip.
The last week-long trip Carlos and I took was our honeymoon to Cancun three Augusts ago. I had felt sick as we checked out of our hotel and boarded the taxi that would take us to the airport and back home. Sick because I didn’t want to leave. Now, there was a small part of me that didn’t want to leave Chiapas (undoubtedly it was the part of my brain responsible for sleep), but on our shared van ride back to the airport, I smiled. Not only because we were quite literally driving through the clouds on the side of a mountain and the view was breathtaking, but also because Carlos had fallen asleep beside me with his mouth slightly open and that’s one of the thousands of reasons why I find him endearing. And I smiled, of course, because Sophia was waiting for us at home.