When you think of Hawaii, you think beautiful beaches, hula dancers, volcanoes, and– perhaps most importantly–ROMANCE!
There’s a reason the tropical islands are among the top honeymoon destinations year after year, right? Lying on the sand, snuggling up with the love of your life, watching a beautiful sunset while drinking your fourth Mai Tai–it is paradise.
But that’s not how it panned out when I went to Hawaii with my husband, my 13-month-old daughter, and my parents recently. Actually, “romantic” was the last adjective that came to mind. Somehow the getaway felt more like a business trip. Just as a business trip can include a gorgeous location, phenomenal people, and delicious food where you leave learning a bit more about yourself, a trip like this was–for me–more than a bit of work.
I know this may paint me as a terrible person–here I am traveling to tropical Hawaii with all people I love and I’m complaining–but truly, it’s not so much a complaint as it is simply the reality of how I felt.
For the duration of the six hour plane ride from LA to Hawaii, my daughter barely slept. We’ve all heard about the turbulence of flying–which is only that much worse with a little one–and you can imagine the rest.
Plus, the airplane is certainly not a very romantic spot in the first place. Even the prospect of joining the mile high club does not sound fun. It’s getting bumped around while you… ahem… you know. Plus, I’m not a great flyer on a good day. But hey, I’m sure my hubby appreciated that I was concentrating on the comfort of my child instead of squeezing the blood out of his hand. Needless to say, the emotions of feeling tense, nervous and all around anxious does not a romantic getaway make.
I will say, it was super helpful to have three other adults to juggle the baby. I guess that’s a great way to describe the trip: it was time spent juggling the youngest member of our party. The schedule was around the baby’s. If she didn’t want to be in the pool, we left the pool. If she needed a nap, someone had to stay in the hotel room. If dinner was pushed past her bedtime, it was time to leave the restaurant. My fellow jugglers seemed much calmer and relaxed than I allowed myself to be. And I felt guilty for having these stressful feelings in a place where stress is supposed to melt away.
Perhaps, being that I’ve been a stay-at-home mom since the birth of my daughter, I felt like I was still “on the clock,” and my boss (my daughter) was making sure I was on task at every moment. And if I wasn’t, she let me know all about it.
And of course, when you have a baby sleeping in the room with you who awakens at the slightest rustle, it makes getting up to go the bathroom difficult, no less, ahem bumping around.”
Adding to the typical traveling with a baby issues, we also had the “Times of Toes and Tummies.” If you’ve never heard of this phenomenon, it is because I just coined the term. Three days into our 10-day journey, my husband broke his toe. I would love to say that it happened while he was wrestling a shark. Or wrestling a shark in order to save a seal… ooh, save a baby seal. Yes, he broke his toe wrestling a shark in order to save a baby seal! Or, he broke his toe returning from the bathroom in the middle of the night and stubbed it on a suitcase. While he insisted we all keep our original plans of snorkeling, there was no way I was participating in an activity he had been looking forward to since the trip was booked and now was unable to partake in. He felt terrible that the plans changed, and we all felt terrible that he was in pain and couldn’t even walk on the sand. Hawaii without the ability to be on the beach sucks.
Days later, after a seafood buffet, I puked my brains out. Everyone (minus the wee one) consumed from the same buffet but I was the only one sick–logic would state that it only takes one bad oyster and apparently, I ate it. So that had me down and out for a good two days. And when I say out, I mean I could not lift my head off the pillow.
Surely in other circumstances staying in bed for two days straight could be the happy intention of a romantic getaway, but alas, that too anything but romantic. Admittedly, it was immensely sweet that my husband wanted to stay with me while I was sequestered to the bed. Watching the only options on TV: HGTV and back to back to back viewings of “The Little Mermaid.” You’d think after the seafood sickness, that “The Little Mermaid” would not be top on the list, but truly, there was nothing else on.
I was glad that at a job where I can’t call in sick… I did have the back up jugglers to fill in.
I don’t know if it’s better to be sick in a place like Hawaii where at least the view out the window was gorgeous and I did have other people there for support or worse because of everything I was missing out on and in turn leaving others to do without. I felt terrible, not only because of the swirlings in my belly, but because I couldn’t take care of my daughter. I couldn’t lift her, heck I could barely gather the strength to smile at her.
Thank God for my jugglers. Though my business trip was filled with some stress and anxiety, but there were also moments of laughter, incredible memories, lots and lots of love and plenty of juggling. Just not much romance.
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