Sick Kids, Canceled Trips, and The Hard Parts of Parenting

This is not the post I had scheduled for today.

Originally, it was a post to tell you that we were 30,000 feet in the air on our way to the Dominican Republic. (The photos you see throughout this post are from our trip there last year.) Those of you who have followed me for a while know that we take this trip every year (first to Jamaica, then Mexico, and the last few years it’s been in the Dominican) for my husband’s work. The band he stage manages does a festival in the tropics every December, and we (almost always) accompany him. He may be gone a lot during the year working on the road, but we sure do feel lucky to get to go with him for special travel like this. I worked 60-80 hour weeks all month so I could take a week off during my busiest season. I barely saw my husband or kids and felt tremendous guilt, but knew it was a means to an end, and that soon we’d be reaping the benefits together in paradise. We spent days packing (those of you who travel internationally with little kids can relate to how complicated it is to pack), tying up loose ends, and getting excited.

Then, a little after midnight, about four hours before we were scheduled to leave for the airport, Essley threw up. She’d had a cold, so we chalked it up to post nasal drip and a very sensitive gag reflex. Then she did it again. And again. She did it all over her brother too. We sat up all night trying to decide what to do. Do we subject her to an hour ride to the airport, long check in lines, a five hour flight, a couple hour customs/immigration line, and a 45 minutes shuttle ride while she could be potentially repeatedly vomiting? Or do the kids and I stay home and miss the trip, after months of planning and weeks of really hard work?

We decided it wouldn’t be fair to put her through that. So we looked up potential later flights the kids and I could take and meet Robbie there. They were full of connections (let’s just say that traveling with Emmett even with both parents is a massive challenge) and really expensive. And that was that. I watched my husband walk out of the door to go to the airport by himself, both of us with tears streaming down our faces.

This is, of course, not a real problem. But man am I heartbroken. We all are. This is a once a year opportunity, and not a family trip that can be made up later since it’s for my husband’s job. We worked so hard to be able to make this happen. We really needed the break. I just keep envisioning all of our friends there with their families in the sunshine, and Robbie there alone, and us here in the cold missing out on something we’ve been talking about daily since the summer. It’s brutal.

Essley is much better now, and I’m second guessing our decision. This is part of what makes parenting so difficult at times. Often you just don’t know what is best for your kids, your family, or yourself – so you go with your gut and hope you didn’t screw up. Right now, I’m too sad to feel like I made the right decision, but I know I did. Even if she’d been completely fine by the time we boarded, other people on the flight excited to go on vacation could have been exposed to her illness, or Emmett could have started barfing (I know that’s probably coming soon), or she could have just felt terrible. Or everything could have worked out perfectly. We’ll never know, so for now I’m trying to chalk it up to another lesson, and hopefully a story we can laugh about (instead of crying, like we are now) someday.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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