Drew and I were reunited two weeks ago, in a scene that was less climactic then we both imagined. It had been three months apart, and as the date approached I wondered how the kids would take it. The exact conversation with my two-year old, Stella:
Me: Daddy is coming in four days.
Stella: Yeah four days. Daddy is coming in four days?
Me: Yes! What are you going to do when he comes? Hug him?
Stella: Yes hug him.
Me: And give him a kiss?
Stella: Yes give him a kiss.
Me: What else?
Stella: I am going to punch him in the face.
Me: Wait, what? You’re going to punch Daddy in the face?
Stella: Yeah I am going to kiss him and then punch in him the face. Yay!
Drew arrived at the airport a few days later, rented a car and drove to the apartment we were renting in Lloret de Mar. He rang the door bell. I came downstairs, sick as a dog, Stella on my hip, and I let him in. I cautioned him to not kiss me on the mouth and Stella buried her face in my neck. We smiled at each other as we rode up the elevator to the fourth floor, I crawled into bed and finally, with someone there to look after the kids, I took a long, flu-induced nap. I slept for two days straight.
Not exactly the homecoming Drew and I had anticipated.
You know what’s really nice though? After three months apart, just having him there. Just near me. Even when I was sick. It was like my body just gave in, like finally, yes Christine, you can be sick now. It’ll be okay. Drew is here. It was just pure relief.
It took a bit but the kids warmed up to Drew again. Within a few hours they were leaping into his arms for that long-awaited hug. By the second day it was like he had never left. I slept and he took them to the park, the carousel, and the beach. He made them meals and wiped their boogers. (They were sick too — one of the gifts from our last leg of travel). They played Legos and watched movies together. The family routine returned.
Meanwhile, Drew and I continued a conversation we had been having over Facebook chat over the last month.
Drew: I want to do something else.
Me: Like what?
Drew: I want to get fit, I want to live in the mountains, I want to get out of big cities for a while.
Our plan had been to stay in Barcelona after the film tour, to prepare for sending Cole to school starting in the Fall of 2016. But Drew was doing something strange. Unheard of. After seven years of traveling together, where I planned, plotted and schemed our way around the world and Drew simply showed up and carried stuff, he was flipping the script. Drew had a travel request. He had somewhere he wanted to go.
For years our conversations about travel have gone like this:
Me: So where should we have the baby? Argentina?
Me: Or how about Thailand?
Me: No really, where? What about Mexico?
Drew: Mexico sounds nice.
Three months of traveling around the US and my husband returns wanting to leave Barcelona. He has this thing he wants to do.
Then I put it together. He turned 39 on April 30th, the last day of the film tour, just two days before he flew home to see us. In a year, he’d be forty. 40. Forrrrrty.
Okay, so the mountains. Somewhere new. Something Drew will like. His big year of travel before that moment when he’s no longer a kid.
I love Barcelona. But I love Drew more. We spun the globe and picked a spot. Peru. Neither of us had been before. Great food. Good base to launch out to other parts of South America. He can do big adventures in Patagonia. I can take cooking classes. One year in Peru, the year before my baby, my first baby anyway, turns an age that feels like a hard-line. He’s going to get fit. Climb mountains. Grow an epic beard.
Then, in a year, we return. I think. Although, as you can see, life has a way of changing even the best laid plans.