As I mentioned in my previous post, I have a huge travel bug. I’ve been all over the US, and traveled internationally 3 times and been to 5 European Countries. Each vacation has something special and a special memory attached.
Some good memories: like my first solo vacation without a friend or relative.
Some, not so good: Like the time I locked my friend’s brother into their Paris Apartment by accident- the day we left the city. I’ve never seen someone so mad before.
But by far, my favorite vacation was the vacation we took following my husband’s fourth deployment. You see, my husband had deployed when I was 28 weeks pregnant and returned the week before my daughter turned five months old. Yes, you are reading that correctly- he missed the birth of our daughter. While he was there in a virtual sense (via skype), he missed it all. Including when I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression. He missed the tears, the meltdowns, the sleepless nights, me going through counseling, going back to work, taking our daughter to daycare. You get the picture.
Looking back, I was so lucky. My disability had been extended and thankfully CA has a law where you can take an additional 12 weeks of bonding leave with your baby. I managed to run out of paid bonding leave 3 weeks before he returned, and I was saving the remaining 6 weeks to take when he returned home. I had an incredible boss and job, who was MORE than accommodating- and my boss had been kept up to date about everything emotionally and mentally going on with me. So I had 3 brief weeks of work before he returned home and another 3 weeks off with him.
You probably think we are crazy, going on vacation with a five month old, with my husband having just met our daughter for the first time. But i needed to get away. I felt like the house and our routine was suffocating me. I had to get out. I needed some time to just be with my husband and have us figure out this whole “dual parenting” thing on neutral ground. I was too regimented into life with an infant at home. I needed an unfamiliar space- something that was new for both of us.
So we drove down to Southern California for 5 days. We planned to visit some breweries, the beach, Disney, and the San Diego zoo. We even met up with great friends of ours who live down that way. We chose to stay at a very secluded airbnb in the mountains of Escondido and it was the perfect oasis. We were far away from the city and stressors and had this quiet mountain escape with the most wonderful hosts.
Looking back, it was that blissful reunion- you know where you’re still so nice to one another and you’re not fighting. Like when you were dating. My husband was so eager to help that he jumped in every time our daughter made a peep. And she loved him. For him missing out on 5 months of her life, you would have never known that by looking at them. He proudly wore her in a ring sling, burped her after feedings, changed her, and read her stories. He would play with her and talk to her about everything going on around him.
Watching my husband finally become a father deepened my love for him on that vacation. I always knew he would make a great dad, but we had waited for that moment for so long, it was finally a reality for it. And he thrived.