Day 14: Vacations

I am a traveler. I couldn’t begin to tell you just one place I’d like to visit. I think I’d be fascinated almost anywhere. I love big cities and the outdoors, mountains and beaches, museums and shopping centers. My ideal vacation involves some of each, time in a major city exploring art and architecture mixed with some time in the country, reading on a porch, hiking or canoeing. I have wanted to go back to Europe for years. I’d love to introduce my husband to some buttery French croissants, and I am desperate to find out if my 10 years of French study is still in my brain somewhere, all those irregular verbs buried under thrombocytopenia, meningococcemia, and schistosomiasis.  At this point, it is unfathomable to me to take two small toddlers on a vacation across an ocean.  We did survive a 17 hour plane ride with each of them once already, but I feel foolish to attempt it again.  They are much older, much healthier now, and would likely spend the 7-hour flight to Paris in a screaming and spitting contest (which is how they usually pass the time in the car when they are bored).  How in the world would I pack for something like that?  My fabulous double stroller would absolutely have to come along.  Europe is best seen walking.  I also have some guilt about flying to Europe when every year I find myself aching for Africa, like I left myself there somehow and need to be there to be whole.  I tell myself all the time that we will be there one day, but then I wonder, how will I ever turn from suburban, upper-middle class part-time doctor full-time mom with Buick and double ovens into resource-poor, rely-on-support-of-friends, cooking-beans-over-a-fire, hand washing-my clothes full-time doctor-mom?  It feels ludicrous, but it feels like the right thing to do.  How do I convince my dear husband (who has no medical training)?  How do I parent my kids in this setting?  I’m most afraid that when the time comes, I’ll be too in love with my stuff and my time to actually do it.  I’m not sure how to even start, so I pray and pray.  I imagine this fabulous French vacation will need to wait.

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