Every year we go on an extended family vacation that includes grandparents, aunts, and uncles, a tradition we began about six years ago, and a process that actually takes several months to plan as we decide on a location, balance work schedules, choose dates, and make travel and lodging arrangements. All of this is a little chaotic, but a lot of fun, and it’s nice to make memories that our children will look back on someday and remember fondly as “those times”.
I wonder if I will have one of “those times”.
This will be the first family vacation that I have ever gone on as a nursing wife.
Mr. S brought this to my attention one evening back in July, right after I had comfortably settled into my role as a fully lactating woman, and had just begun the process of learning to balance life and lactation.
The day had flown by, as summer days have a way of doing, filled with gardening, yard work, swimming, and one unfortunate incident in which, apparently, someone had breathed too loudly near his sister. Dinner was over, the dishes done, and the children were off doing their own things. I was sitting in the living room, re-attaching a button eye to an injured pink velvet pig named Fluffy while Morgan Freeman watched. (Incidentally, this would be Morgan Freeman, the teddy bear, not Morgan Freeman, the actor. I’m not even joking–my little lady actually named one of her favorite bears Morgan Freeman…you just cannot make this stuff up!)
“Fluffy will be discharged from the hospital soon,” I said, holding up the pig for Mr. S’ inspection as he took the chair next to me. “It was touch and go there for a minute, but I’m happy to report that she will be as good as new, and seeing better than ever.”
“Thank goodness,” he said seriously. “I’ve been so worried.”
We laughed, and then, he and I shared a few precious minutes of companionable silence. Until he broke the moment.
“I was thinking, maybe we better start thinking about vacation.”
“Ugh. You just had to take me out of my happy place, didn’t you?” I glanced over at Mr. S. “It’s not that I’m not looking forward to it. I am. A lot. But I’m worried about our nursing schedule.”
And I had been, for quite some time. In the past, I had vacationed as an exclusively breastfeeding mother, and my family was accustomed to my routine, knowing that, when it was time to eat, baby would eat, regardless of where we were at the time, and understood that my insulated traveling pump bag was my new choice in the season’s hottest fashion accessory. But this time…well, this time, things would be much different.
“This would be so much easier if we had a baby,” I said.
“All riiight!” he said, rubbing his hands together in a way that could only be described as anticipation. “Let’s have a baby.”
(I mean, I know that drastic times call for drastic measures and all, but come on…really??)
“There wouldn’t be time,” I said. “And, besides, you’ve had a vasectomy.”
“I’ll concentrate real hard,” he said.
Looking back on that summer evening makes me laugh (a lot of things Mr. S says, and a lot of moments we share make me laugh)–and realize that I have come so far on this journey into lactation. What seemed insurmountable six months ago is now just a part of everyday life. It takes a bit of planning, a bit of juggling, but, honestly, what part of life doesn’t? And this is such a beautiful part. It makes all of the balancing and scheduling, the little struggles and challenges completely worthwhile.
When I think of everything I have managed to achieve as a nursing wife–trips to the park and zoo, daily appointments and errands, outings with friends and family lunches, a visit to the pumpkin patch and an October bonfire, Thanksgiving, a matinee performance of The Nutcracker, Christmas festivities and New Year celebrations, birthday parties and get-togethers, I realize that nothing (even non-maternal lactation) is truly impossible…and anything worth having is worth working for.
Nursing Mr. S and providing him with the gift of my milk is definitely worth working for.
What’s one little family vacation, anyway? 🙂
Our destination? A very private and relaxing beach-front locale, which means there will be less chaos, fewer strict time schedules to adhere to, seashells and sunshine, and a lot of fun. Mr. S and I can do our “thing” while everyone else does theirs, and with plenty of extra adult supervision, we ought to be able to slip off for a quiet afternoon nursing session.
We have discussed our situation, of course, and made careful plans, but whether any of them will play out as we hope remains to be seen. Life is funny that way, isn’t it? Sometimes, it zigs when you think it should have zagged, and that’s okay. It’s just par for the course. Mr. S and I have decided to take a practical approach to our “breastfeeding on the beach” adventure, remain flexible, and go with the flow, so to speak. 😉 And I know it’s going to be wonderful.
Our bags are packed. The car is warming. Our destination awaits. And now that the time has come to leave, I am really looking forward to this new experience! Not only will I have the chance to watch the sun rise over the rippling waters of the Atlantic ocean from our patio and stroll along the beach at sunset, holding tightly to my love’s hand and making magical memories every step of the way, I’ll have the opportunity to journal, record every one of those precious moments, and share them with others. (Yes, I’ll be blogging over the next 2 weeks. Vacation is about doing what you love, right? 🙂 And I certainly love to blog!)
And, no matter what comes my way, it is comforting to know that Mr. S is by my side. We are in this together. We are a team. I just love that.
I wish you all the best as you travel along the paths of your personal journey, and hope you find happiness no matter where those paths may lead.
Warm wishes to you!