There were 852 tantrums…or thereabouts.
There was me, floating on my stomach on the moonlit ocean, squealing through my snorkel as giant manta rays swam inches from my face.
There was an allergy attack that had me anxiety-ridden for days, praying we would avoid an ER visit on foreign territory.
But then, there was that drive to the rim of a volcanic crater to see molten lava aglow in the twilight.
There was that night, at 3a.m., pacing the balcony with a sweaty baby and listening to geckos scurry in the rafters, when we managed to lock ourselves out of our guesthouse room with our daughter inside.
And a solo sunset scuba dive after an afternoon of enthralling tide pool exploration with my girl.
There was so. much. coffee.
There was no quick morning meditation. Or yoga. Or running. No hour here and there to write. That whole idea to “just eat really clean” while we were traveling – because what better place to survive on tropical fruit and fresh fish? – ended faster than you can say Buffalo Ranch Wheat Thins.
There were squeals of delight as my daughter finally gained confidence splashing in the ocean shallows. There were many, many visits to playgrounds. There were sea turtles, seen up close.
There were some pretty serious conversations about why on earth we decided it was a good idea to bring our two tiny children on a dream vacation to Hawaii for a month.
Because, you see, it didn’t really feel like a dream vacation.
There, I said it. Gratitude be damned: it was still all the very hard work of parenthood, but hotter and stickier, and with the fear of the screams of an angry preschooler travelling all too well through thin hotel walls.
It was no different than at home, when I struggle to remember the sweet moments, thinking only of the day’s challenges and counting down the hours until bedtime. Only I felt quadruply obligated to enjoy each second of this adventure because we’d be planning it for so long, because I wanted to experience Hawaii to the fullest of my capability, because we’d come so far.
So, call me ungrateful. It’s a struggle to see the bright spots in the day-to-day of parenting, and harder still to force oneself to do so when it seems like the cards are stacked in your favour.
Sometimes, as you ramp up into Tantrum #853, it helps just to write the good stuff down, so at least you can remember it later.