So, the second Small is coming. Once again, we are about to embark on a journey that, the first time around, shook us to our very core. I’d be lying through my slightly neglected teeth if I said I wasn’t nervous. Two and half years after our first foray into parenting, we are just about getting it together. I think I’m finally at peace with the fact that it really is possible for something to be the very best thing you’ve ever done while simultaneously being the very hardest, dirtiest, most exhausting thing you’ve ever done. Yawn. Sniff. *wipes greasy hair from unwashed forehead*
So, in light of the impending seismic shift heading our way, Jimmy Plays Bass and I thought it might be nice to try and grab some time together before Small the Sequel landed in our totally unprepared laps. As we investigated the idea further, the stars aligned and there, in his touring diary was five days in New York in July. I was going to be 33 weeks pregnant so still able to fly, it was my birthday three days before, the tour was staying at one of the best hotels in the world, return flights for me were £400 (with a hefty dollop of air miles plonked on top) and did I mention it was New York? Plus, we got engaged in New York and it would almost be 6 years since that fateful night atop the Brooklyn Bridge with the Portuguese tourists applauding as Jimmy Plays Bass got down on one knee…the universe was telling us that this was a trip we were destined to take and who the hell were we to ignore the universe?
It turns out that the universe had an almighty spanner up its sleeve that it was determined to throw into the works. Some family members felt that going to New York for five nights was unfair on The Small. They suggested that five nights was too long, that New York was too far away (some might argue it wasn’t long enough or far enough…ahem) and that it wasn’t a responsible parenting choice.
We were shocked. We genuinely hadn’t expected any kind of negative response and so, immediately, we began to question our parenting choice. Were we being selfish? Neglectful? Irresponsible? Was two and a half too young to leave her with grandparents for five nights? Was our plan truly that shocking?
The whole thing rocked our confidence a little. Maybe we shouldn’t leave her for that long, we thought. Maybe we shouldn’t be that far away. The philly steak sandwiches that we had practically been able to taste were suddenly out of our reach…at the very least, we weren’t going to be able to enjoy them half as much. Guilt always tastes a little shitty.
We are still planning on carving out some kid-free time before Small the Sequel arrives (it’ll probably be more New Forest than New York) but here’s the thing: how long is too long? How young is too young? Should we even consider leaving her? I ask you…does such a thing as kid-free, guilt-free time exist?