My gorgeous girls,
This jetsetting life! People think it’s so glamorous right? All fun and five star! The reality is we haven’t got on a plane for leisure in a long, long time – even before the pandemic. We fly to see loved ones. Seeing those people we don’t get to spend enough time and for whom FaceTime isn’t enough – we just want to be there with them, by their sides. There are comfortable late nights catching up that fill our cups, long chat filled walks through scenery we cherish, and hugs and laughter over shared moments. There’s familiar food, and beloved places, with beds you know and childhood memories.
But anyone who’s ever been an expat knows that taking a break from your everyday life to cross the world and see family is never a holiday. You live out of suitcases, eat food on the go, travelling from one place to another, different beds every few nights. Everything’s concentrated into those few days you have together, and that’s lovely, but intense. There’s providing all the help you can while you’re there, to ease the load of not being readily available to lend a hand the rest of the year. There are always trade-offs. And full weekends when everyone you want to see is off work at the same time. There are logistics to juggle, and jet lag, and usually some paperwork to catch up on while you’re at “home”. And eyewatering gulps at the expense of it all, with a back of the head plan to pull in even more work, (and even more pressure) when you’re back at your other home again.
I’m not complaining, no one forces us to make these trips. I love our family, and our time with them, but I am being realistic about where my own capabilities are. I’ve learnt to have those soft buffer days in the middle where we see no one. We just be. We walk and we breathe the air under the same sky but without a schedule, just for a day or 2.
And why am I writing this to you my little loves? Because I know you feel it too as you grow into adulthood yourselves. And I want you to grow up being realistic – about work, life balances. I want you to be aware of responding to your own needs, even in the midst of helping others. And I need you to understand doing things out of love, rather than some form of obligation. There are no “ought to’s” about our trips – but they work because we listen to ourselves and weave in the “us time” in the midst of the beauty of family time.
And sometimes at the end, when the tears fall as we say goodbye, because we’ll miss them so much and we’ve had such a wonderful trip, we’re realistic enough to know that it’s also because the exhaustion has hit, and we just want to get on that plane and drift into sleep.
I’m grateful that you’re there with me through these beautiful family filled days, and soak them up as I do,
I love you, Mama xxxx
Images: Gatwick Airport, London. June 2023
This post is part of Artifact Motherhood, a collaboration of artists/mothers from around the world. Sharing stories of the joys and struggles of our journey. Our hopes and dreams for our children. With little nuggets of wisdom or reflections on life here and there. These are more than photographs with dates written on the back. These are the artifacts we are leaving behind for our children and the generations to come.
Next please visit the wonderful Leila Balin
Sept 2023 | New Delhi | India