In a word, it sucks.
The sad thing is it wouldn't suck quite as much if a) I wasn't so uptight and b) if I were not so heavily burdened by that thing called "hubris". It's times like these that I realize what a thin thread my sense of well-being dangles by; one set of sticky fingers or one sopping diaper and everything falls apart. My life at home is so controlled and regimented; out of my comfort zone, it's just torture. And traveling is absolutely out of your comfort zone.
I woke up at 4:30 this morning with tremendous anxiety - of the I'm-about-to-throw-up variety I haven't experienced in a long while. I honestly almost didn't come. But I managed to wrangle two sleepy children out of bed, haul all of our CRAP to the airport, get on that plane, survive a poopy toddler diaper mid-flight, and come out of it with many compliments from our neighbors on how they "didn't even know" my kids were there (yay us).
The flight was really ok. Bumpus was frustrated by the puzzles and games I'd painstakingly loaded onto the Kindle - too advanced for him, unfortunately - but he did love the one stupid one with shitty animation of cars and trucks that you touch to make "go" (I would say whoever designed that app must be a millionaire, except that it's a free app), so that entertained him sporadically. He melted down massively all during the lengthy security process. But honestly it was really ok. Juggling the two wasn't so bad while we were in flight; having my nipple mangled by one squirmy kid while trying to explain to another squirmy kid why the effing Kindle takes about 800 years to boot up isn't exactly my favorite way to spend a Wednesday, but hey.
The crappy part was hauling all the junk around in this tremendous heat and humidity. I somehow didn't factor in that our room at this timeshare (which is really just a hotel with kitchens) wouldn't be ready until four, and we landed at 11 AM. Luckily my friends were here so I went and hung out in their room - but left all my stuff baking in the car far away; I had no diapers and Theo was soaked, we were all starving and thirsty and exhausted and were way overdressed and had no sunscreen or hats or anything. So it was a frustrating afternoon of just wanting to sleep but instead trying to simulate a beach day with none of the appropriate gear. My friends slathered sunscreen on B and fed and watered us while I felt like a bit of an incompetent idiot. This self-view was only furthered when later, finally allowed to check in, I a) painstakingly hauled all of our crap up two flights of stairs with a tired toddler and a wailing baby in tow, not realizing there was an elevator just feet away, and then b) had a minor meltdown when I couldn't get into my room, having the front desk issue me new keys, only to discover I'd been trying to get into the wrong room.
Thankfully friends of my friends heard the baby screaming in the hallway and offered to play with B while I got settled in the room and got me some groceries; B hung out with them for hours while I desperately tried to nurse Theo and get him to sleep which he finally did, then these same people brought me dinner.
This says to me that people are awesome, and that I hate having to be the person that always needs help. I take the help gladly, because I need it, and because I know it makes you feel good to be able to help someone in need. But I don't like to be "in need". I want to be the awesome super single mom, not the one who falls apart under the slightest set of unusual circumstances; the one who always needs something.
I'm not sure how the rest of this trip will go, but I'm fairly certain it will involve imposing on people and asking for favors a lot, which I would never have to do if I had a partner. Do couples who vacation with small children feel as messy and disorganized and out of control as I do right now? The sad answer is, probably yes. At least I have no illusions that anything about this trip will be romantic or "rekindle" anything.
I think if I make the kind of money I hope to make next year that it may be worthwhile to plan ahead and travel with other mothers or a nanny. Doing it alone is just too damned hard. I need someone with me from my house to the airport to the destination. I don't want to pass on all future travel for the next decade, but I don't particularly want to do it again like this, either. As always, money could provide a solution.
Here are a couple of pictures I had the presence of mind to take while we were fooling around on the beach waiting for our room.
Oh, and I'm 42 tomorrow.