Hi again. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? About 2 weeks by my calculations. Well, that’s the length of time that I was away with Kylee. She had a conference in Hawaii and thanks to the great deal that Hawaiian Airlines gave us I was able to bum along with her.
So, did James come along for the ride too? I have to be careful how I answer this as I don’t wish to give the impression that we were giddy school children making a dash for the gate on the last day of school and the freedom that it represented just because we were embarking on an overseas holiday to a tropical locale and we were to be childless. But, yippee, we were going to Hawaii and thoughts of nappy changing, feeding and sleep routines were to be replaced by surfing lessons, swim-up bars and Mai Tais at sunset.
I suppose most new parents would have automatically planned their overseas trip with child in mind. I mean, that’s fairly normal I guess. In fact, while we were on our jaunt, more than once we spied young couples with their young babies going about their tourist business. Us, on the other hand, well we had a precedent to follow, for you see Kylee’s parents had left her in the care of her grandparents when she was a one year old as they too had ventured to the U.S of A. And, family traditions are important to uphold and continue.
Now, I really shouldn’t be so flippant because we did have numerous conversations as to whether we should bring James or leave him with our families. As we prepared to jet off, we were able to thank our parents as we appreciated the opportunity to holiday as a couple and hoped that this would give them an opportunity to have some one on one time with James and to develop another version of their relationship with him.
Many was the time while we were away that we were asked about our family structure and whether we had children and each time it brought James’ absence front and centre to my mind. And after answering that we had a one year old and explaining where he was I found myself wondering how he was going. And at night, Kylee or I would ask the other, what do you think he’s doing, or, how do you think he’s going? Or we would entertain each other by reminding ourselves of his funny little habits, being careful to keep it light hearted lest we get misty eyed as we were missing him.
On our arrival at Waikiki we had some troubles getting our mobile phones to make a call back to Australia, which probably wasn’t a bad thing as I didn’t want to be ringing every 5 minutes like an anxious parent. As it was, my parents looked after James for the first week and we rang them a couple of times for updates. ‘All is well’ and ‘He is a delightful little boy’ were the themes of the responses we received. Well, I’m a teacher and I know how to write a report that doesn’t go out on a limb too, but to be fair, we were hardly going to get any negatives were we?
We continued our semi-regular check-ins after the hand over with Kylee’s parents and we even started receiving photos via text and email. The first one that was texted was a curiosity to us. James looked different somehow … older perhaps … a different expression on his face. I hadn’t figured on this development, but I realised then that we were missing stuff. I hadn’t been in this position before, I had never missed anything, I’m the House Dad after all, I’m with James every day, he and I are buddies. He’s my side-kick, my protégé, I’m his dad. So, what was this funny feeling I was having, maybe a twinge of jealousy or something in that area of human emotion.
I started doing some maths. Two weeks away. James is a bit over a year old, let’s call it fifty weeks for ease of doing the calculations, that’d give us 4%, give or take of his life to-date that we were to be absent for. A lot could happen in that time you know. And it did too…
We’ve returned to a boy who is definitely older, not just in the chronological sense, he’s more grown up too. James’ babblings are sounding more like language now. He interacts with more understanding now, as phrases like ‘come here’ or ‘sit down’ are resonating. He finds humour with the clinking of glass and sippy-cup teamed the word ‘cheers’ that Poppy has taught him. There is now cheesiness to some of his smiles as he plays up his facial expressions for our reactions. James has gained even greater confidence in his negotiating of steps and ‘heights’ in general. And he’s even quicker across the ground now, than ever before.
And after experiencing ‘Hawaiian’ time whereby delays caused us to have an unexpected night in Sydney both going and coming, we’re back home now and glad to be. Kylee and I had a relaxing time on our break, but we were certainly ready to get home because its not just Kylee and me any more, its Kylee, me and James.