Adventures in Envy

We went to Naples, Florida last week to spend some time visiting Greg's parents and getting a bit of much-needed sun. My in-laws get a condo in Naples every spring and all of Greg's siblings take turns going down with their kids. It's a pretty nice arrangement, if I do say so.

This was our first time going and, while the weather could have been a little warmer (hello, Florida cold snap), we had a great time. Veronica went swimming for the first time, which was wildly fun for all of us and probably a little bit fun for her. I braved a bathing suit in my new post-baby body (yikes/sigh) and we saw a surprising amount of alligators. We also ate a lot of fried grouper (yikes/sigh), took advantage of free-Grandparent-babysitting and took in a movie (Alice in 3D disappoints) and had a nice dinner date (Campiello's).

We came home on Saturday, slightly sunburned and vaguely more rested, only to find an inch of snow on the ground, our attempts to escape winter fooled. Part of me really thought that spring would be here to stay when by the time we got back — kind of like when you go to the bathroom in a restaurant, hoping your entree will have arrived by the time you return — but alas, after 3 winters in Chicago I should have known better.

I've been traveling a lot this year, which is wonderful. Traveling makes me feel like I can breathe. I always know when it's time to take a trip because I start getting a little tight in the chest. Thankfully, that's not the case right now. But I have to say that I am already wondering what my next adventure will be. I'm hoping to visit Atlanta, New York and Cape Cod before July, but nothing is concrete. And, of course, I'd love to go to a few other places like Seattle, Rome and the Caribbean, just to name a few.

On Saturday at the airport, I spent an undue amount of time studying a couple of my female travelers. We were delayed 2 hours because of the sleet in Chicago and Greg and I took turns entertaining Veronica. I couldn't help but notice a couple of women my age though and envying them and their solo travels. I envied their magazines and laptops, their remarkably un-spit-up-stained blouses, the way they were able to immerse themselves in a book for an uninterrupted period of time.

I wondered where they were going, where they were coming from. And I wondered when I would ever be in their place again. I feel so far away from that person I used to be, that carefree female traveler out in the world alone. And I miss being her.

I thought about this again last night, trying to weigh the two parts of myself that exist now. I thought about being on the airplane home to Chicago, Veronica heavily asleep in my arms, the little bow of her mouth open, her eyelashes cast down against her cheeks, and how full my heart is with her. I wouldn't give her up for anything, not for unadulterated time with a magazine in an airport, not for a solo trip to South America (although that sounds pretty amazing right now), but I won't ever stop missing those things either.

Holly over at Nothing But Bonfires is contemplating a future with kids right now and it's funny to read about because she's exactly the kind of woman I miss being. But I was once her and I'm sure there were moms out there who envied me. And I think there were even a few who told me to wait, to enjoy what I had, to be just me a little longer. (Sorry, Cynthia. You were about 6 weeks too late!)

But the thing is that you can't tell someone this. And as I sit here next to Veronica who is babbling in her high chair and throwing cheerios on the ground (we need to get a dog), I have to emphasize again that I wouldn't/couldn't take any of it back.

And if I think about it long enough, I know that my sweet girl is more of an adventure that I ever would have found traipsing the world. And as Greg is quick to remind me, I can still traipse the world — I just have to take her with me.

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A couple of things: 

I've been using Twitter a lot more lately. If you're not following me, maybe you should! Greg too!

I dusted off my old Flickr account, added some new photos and have linked it up here. Feel free to take a look.

Oh, and I'm still giving away those $300 dollars. Enter to win here.

4 comments

4 Comments

  • Lyssa
    Posted March 22, 2010 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Claire, as I get closer and closer to the age where I think I’d like to start a family I’ve begun to both cherish myself in this moment and us as a couple during this time in our lives. I get nervous thinking about what I have to give up when we become a family. Reading your blog eases that anxiety for me. You address the mourning of your old self but still it seems as though you would not trade your new life for anything. It’s very honest, hopeful, and I like it:)

  • Posted March 24, 2010 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this comment, Lyssa. Im glad Im easing some of your anxieties! I guess someones gotta pave the way, huh? 🙂

  • Posted April 6, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I, too, have been immersed in a similar kind of envy lately. I blame Facebook for mine. It is the same kind of emotion, though. The backward glance at a life where you were constantly on little travel adventures and had the freedom to move about the cabin in the plane or move about the country. I met interesting people, saw interesting sights, and wrote it all down.
    Now, I am stuck in a life with pre-school (and 1 teenage) boys in the home of my husband’s grandmother (so that we can afford for me to stay home with the littles). I log onto FB and see my siblings and friends (most with just teens now) all travelling and taking fantastic, memorable trips with their families (London, FL, CA, etc) and I’m so envious. It even makes it hard sometimes to blog about my present adventures in mothering.
    Loved the futuristic post you did reminding yourself to enjoy these moments (even when they seem tough).

  • Posted April 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Well be there again, Wendy. Promise.

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