Well, I just arrived back in Alaska from my annual trip to Florida. What an incredible adventure. This was the first year that I’ve ever left my son…it was a full week! I was so nervous about how he would do without mommy around. My husband took the week off from work in order to take care of our son. They went camping and bowling, and did guy stuff while I was gone. I know that my two and a half year old son, really missed me, but he did surprisingly well.
In preparation for the trip, my good friend came over to help me write a “social story” that daddy could read to him while we were away. We wrote a story about mommy, sister, and grandma getting on a plane and flying to Florida and what we would do while we were there. We also wrote down the fun things that Cai would do while he was here. Then we put colorful clip art in the book and some real photos of me and his sister as well. On the last page we listed the days of the week and how many days were left until we would arrive home. He was able to check off each day and see how it was getting closer and closer to seeing us again. It was a success, although there’s some residual from the “daddy schedule” and just from the emotions of being without mommy. I still think it was needed and both daddy and son had a good time together, while I got out of the state for a while and have some daughter/mommy bonding.
It was great to have four generations together in Florida. My daughter, I, my mother, and my grandmother all had our picture taken together. How things have changed from generation to generation. My grandmother had nine children and has lots of stories to tell about raising them.
One of the strangest situations I found myself in occurred in a changing room while shopping at the mall. I was in desperate need of a new nursing bra, and I didn’t have much time to try things on. My nine month old woke up while I was in the changing room, and I knew she was hungry. But I didn’t dare take her out of the stroller, because it would have been a challenge to get her back into it, and I didn’t have much time. Also, the floor was dirty and had tiny pins in it, so I didn’t want her to crawl around while I finished. Therefore, I hurriedly made the decision to crouch down next to the stroller, insert my breast into her mouth and feed her in this awkward position. Aside, from my near thigh failure, because I don’t do squats everyday like I ought, it worked out just fine. She had a snack and then I was able to finish trying things on and zip out of the store with her still in the stroller. Hmmm…..the predicaments of life.
The best thing by far about this trip was watching a momma sea turtle trundle up the beach to lay her eggs. It was night time and all was still, my mom, I, and my baby were out on the beach alone and the darkness surrounded us. No lights were alowed at night because it might disrupt nature. The sound of the waves crashing and the warm wind blowing made it a pleasant wait. After an hour, I was beginning to lose hope of seeing any turtles. I squinted at the tide and suddenly I saw what appeared to be a moving rock. However, the momma turtle heard us talking and retreated back to the sea. Determined to see a turtle, I prayed and walked and nursed my baby to help her stay quite. Finally, it happened! A large (60 pounds or more) mother turtle came slowly onto the beach. We watched from about 15 feet away and then followed her. She made time on the beach, as she focused on her purpose that night. I was in awe at her unique tracks in the sand and she began to dig a hole to hide her eggs in.
I know that having eggs, and giving birth are two different things, but I was struck by the similarities that night. This special animal needed a quite place, she needed a safe place. Under the cover of darkness, she was driven to accomplish this important task. Any distraction would cause her to retreat and abandon the mission. There was an extreme beauty about this animal that came out of the sea that night and I was fortunate to watch her. We came within about three feet of that turtle, yet she did not seem to mind, as long as we were quite and respected her. Women in labor need quite, safe places as well and most of all respect. This was a meaningful moment for me.