Friday, 12 October 2012

leave pass

This time next week I will be boarding a plane. Just the Small and I. We will be making a flying visit up to the Gold Coast for two nights, to celebrate my sister's baby shower. In somewhere around six weeks' time, a new little life will join our family. My sister will become a mother. Those words are filled with excitement and disbelief for me. Disbelief, not because I ever thought she wouldn't have kids - she will make a wonderful mother - but disbelief in the sense that sometimes I can still see her as a naive 16 year old. She lived in London for a few years in her early 20s, which is where she met her husband, a local boy from the New South Wales Coast. Of course she had to fly halfway round the world to find him. She grew beyond measure while she was away. The naive child in her was left on the other side of the world. She came home strong, independent and confident. The girl was long gone, a woman had taken her place. But woman or not, she will always be my little sister.

And as time rushes past us, laughing in our faces as it goes, for me there is sadness in this little life's arrival too. I will not be there to see them grow. I will see them grow mostly on my computer screen, through email and images and Skype. I will not be there to watch my sister grow, to grow into and blossom in her new role. I will not be there to help my sister, to offer tangible support. Of course there will be plane flights and visits, but not with the kind of regularity I yearn for. My parents will be a short walk away for support and guidance, to see those little arms and legs growing longer and stronger. Something I did not have with any of our children. Not in a geographical sense. Support I have had a plenty, my family are generous, with big hearts. I am blessed. But I have never known the kind of support where you walk down the street or drive around the corner to spend time with your family, so they can marvel at your baby growing before their eyes. I don't know what it's like to call my parents and ask to drop the kids off for an hour or so, so I can go and run a few errands. Or just drop them off so they can have time with their beloved Nanna and Pa. Or have a regular weekly coffee date, family roast or backyard barbie. My little sister gets to do all of that, sometimes with her beautiful husband by her side, and always with her baby by her side. She knows how lucky she is. One day I will be that lucky too.

This trip will mark the first nights I will spend away from Ruby and Cole, ever. Recently when I told my cousin about our trip, she was mortified that this was to be my first night away from the kids in my five years of motherhood. Her reaction was more in line with me having told her I was actually born with two heads and had one removed shortly after birth, a deep dark secret we had been covering up for the past 32 years. Not having a night away from my children has been a matter of circumstance as well as choice. My youngest sister and brother in law live here too, and always put their hands up for babysitting on the rare occasion hubby and I have to go out alone. They also live almost an hour away. They always come to our house because they know it's easier for the kids, and easier for us, even if it's not easier for them. A simple date night requires too much organisation to contemplate. I'd rather have a nice meal together at the dinner table once the kids have gone to bed. If the kids wake in the night, in that half asleep half awake daze, it is me they want. Every time. Because that's the way it's been since they were born. Hubby was no use to them - he had no milk! I never expected him to be up all hours through the night and then front up to work the next day. That was my gig and I was happy to do it.

So while I know I will miss them terribly, apart for two days, for the first time ever, I am looking forward to some uninterrupted girly time with my mum and sisters (while dad is gushing over Eliot and taking him to the park), to rub that big belly, revel in the excitement that is teeny tiny wondersuits and nonsensical itty bitty shoes, and document this special time in my little sister's life. That, I can do for her.

Do you live near your family? When was the first time you spent a night away from your child?


  1. I love this post Tahnee, you write straight from the heart. I am lucky to have Mum a few short blocks away and a 10 minute stroll. She is invaluable both to Jackson and to us. She has been able to enjoy those things you speak of but I do understand your wishes. Hubby's parents are 6 hours away and it is difficult to get to see them because our work schedules. Hubby yearns to share his little family and our milestones with them and we are unable. Best wishes to your sis for her upcoming role and just remember that support is not just physical but the mental support and love that you share will be of great comfort to her, even if it is over the phone or Skype (what a wonderful invention that is). Enjoy your leave pass, goodness knows you deserve it. And don't worry about Ruby and Cole, they will LOVE having Daddy's undivided attention for 2 days, I know Jackson does! xxxx

  2. You just made me miss my sister something terrible, she moved cross country and I haven't seen her in months :-(. Hope you have safe travels, and enjoy that well deserved girly, vacation time! Can't wait to see all your photos! xx

  3. Lovely post Tahnee!
    My sister is 650 (ish) kilometers away from us, and despite having spent a good chunk of September with her and her family it is never quite enough. My parents do not live near us either.
    I have not had a night away from my little girl, who was 3 in July, and I do not plan to have one any time soon. I am sure the time will come, but at the moment I do not see any need for me or for her. We have had nights when we are away, or her daddy is away.
    I hope you have a wonderful weekend away and that your sister has the wonderful, indulgent baby shower that every mum-to-be deserves.

  4. Beautiful post :) I feel exacatly like that with my 3 sisters. I'm lucky to have two close by but one lives in Melbourne and we miss her terribly when the three of us who are in Sydney are together! My Melb sister and I have since created a tradition of going away together each summer for a week with our kiddies! My daughter is now 4 and remembers our holidays at the beach and talks about them :) and yes we have one planned for this January!

    The first time I spent away from Sunny was when I was a bridesmaid at my best friends wedding in Adelaide. I spent 4 long nights away from my then 2 year old and was doing well until my BFF made a speech at her wedding thanking me and mentioning that this was my first time away from my girl... Needless to say I burst into tears in front of the whole reception and when I looked up I saw whole bunch of other ladies crying because I was! Very sweet...

    Sophie xo

    P.S Have a wonderful time!

  5. Oh Tahnee, This is a beautiful post. I am lucky enough to have my parents near by to share all the special and just average moments of life. But am missing my brother and his family who recently moved to Melbourne. My little Maksi is missing his cousin Harry and it breaks my heart.

    I hope you enjoy your little getaway

  6. Lovely post, I don't live near my family but my parents just stayed with us for a week which was wonderful!

  7. I used to have that "walk down the street" kinda help once... and gradually, eventually, we didn't have any left. My parents are a three hour drive away, and his parents may as well be.
    And my brother and his partner are raising my gorgeous niece an hour's drive away, and it makes me a little sad that I miss out on the day-to-day growing of her chubby arms and legs.
    You are an amazing mama though, and these things make us better mama's I think - just like a tiny bit of time away! It will be nice for them to miss you, too! xxx

  8. Oh that will be lovely Tahnee, but I know what you mean, earlier this year when I went to Sydney was the first time I had been away from my little ones, I hated, but enjoyed it at the same time. Have a wonderful time. xx

  9. oh how refreshing for you to have some alone time.

    I have had quite a bit. My parents and in laws do not live close, but I have managed a few weekends away for weddings and such, and a FABULOUS 6 night holiday in Bali with my husband for our ten year weeding anniversary. As much as I missed the kids, it is definately refreshing and oh so rejuvenating for my marriage and my soul.

    Hope you had a great time x


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