As some of you will know from my other blog (A Separate Life), I have been travelling this last month.I hinted at it a few weeks ago in this post about reclaiming the country when the children are back at school (and their parents at work), when I said "we reclaim the shops and restaurants and roads and ferries and tourist spots, and secluded outdoor areas. Next week it's all for us! I can't wait." Perhaps you thought there was more than the usual enthusiasm for having cafes and malls and cinemas free of children? There was.
Like many people, we discovered, we waited until school holidays were over before we drove onto the ferry (conveniently berthed about five minutes from our house) and set sail for the South Island. (Or so we thought - there was a delay and the usual 3 1/2 hour trip took 6 hours!) We've spent the last 3 1/2 weeks traversing the South Island, going to places we'd been before, but never really explored. Doing some new things. Reliving childhood memories. Seeing family. Eating too much. Drinking a bit much, though we were remarkably restrained, I thought! Taking a LOT of photos. I've put just a few on Instagram (I'm travellingmali there), and I'm planning to blog about the trip in more detail either on A Separate Life or a new space.
The trip was blissfully child-free. Sure, there were children some places, and some of them were amusing, cute, or both. They enhanced our trip. But the places we went weren't flooded with them, and that made it very relaxing. I know I'm privileged to be able to travel for this long at a time of my choosing. I know not all of you can do it. So I'll stop there.
I had the inevitable "are you having a nice Mother's Day?" question at a hotel reception. It was funny, because even when she said it, she didn't look as if she wanted to. "I'm not a mother," I responded. "So ... no." She immediately apologised profusely. It made me wonder if she'd been told to ask the question of women of a certain age (what that might be, over 18?), and had - for whatever reason, objected to that. I felt for her. Her apology was very much for the question, whereas I also received (somewhere, I can't remember where) an "I'm sorry" when I said that I did not have children, which was wholly pitying. Kind, perhaps, but judgemental too. Tone of voice and context is so important.
Anyway, it's kind of nice to be home. The holiday was a good break between clearing up FIL's house and estate, and the rest of my life. I feel a little like I did when I was coming out of the grief of the permanent no-kids diagnosis. What shall I do with the rest of my life? What is the next big thing? And then I remember. Life is the next big thing. And I need to live it. We don't have the responsibilities we have had the last decade, so things can change, if we want them to. That's what I'm figuring out now. But there's no rush.