So here's the scoop: John McCain took me on a dreamy whirlwind trip to Amsterdam. We left on Thanksgiving morning, and let me tell you..I was a neurotic banshee up until the second the plane left the ground. And for a little bit after that, too.
Of course I was worried about the kids. I was worried about the dog. I was worried that this was too much, too soon. I worried about pooping, of all things. Yes, I just said "pooping". Because I don't have any sort of boundaries, I will tell you all about my borderline-obsessive fretting about going number two.
Call it "Fear of Farting" if you will. In fact, my homie Danielle and I had one of the funniest text exchanges about this very subject just prior to my departure. You know how you can tell when someone is a good friend? Like, a really good friend? When they will take screen shots like this one:
And also, when they will humor your insane bowel movement fears. Love you, Danielle!
Were you eating while reading this? I'm sorry. But no more poop talk, I promise.
Like Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes are wont to say, I had the time of my life. It was a SHORT trip (three days) but we packed a lot of sight-seeing and even more eating into those three days than I would have thought possible. The sharing-of-the-room thing wasn't awkward (although the fact that I am more man than woman was woefully apparent...like when I came out of the bathroom at bedtime wearing a big t-shirt, my glasses and had my sleep mask wrapped around my head like a do-rag). He's also very neat, very organized, which is a stark contrast to how I roll. Kind of a Felix/Oscar thing going on there.
I spent a lot of time thinking. I thought about how funny life is, how it came to be that my broke ass was strolling through the streets of Amsterdam, eating in the yummiest restaurants and sleeping under a down comforter that surely cost more than all of my earthly possessions combined.
I felt like an imposter, at first. The mommy guilt played a big part in that. I saw families on vacation, kids in tow, eating at restaurants and posing for pictures. It caused a big pang in my heart, thinking about the fact that my kids have never, ever gone anywhere, and here I was drinking $15 dollar martinis and walking down charming cobblestone streets hand in hand with my fella like I hadn't a care in the world. I found myself starting to look at John McCain and thinking of all the reasons we shouldn't be together. All of the reasons he shouldn't like me.
And then I decided to do something so many people have told me to do:
I got over it. I told the guilt and the shame and the negative stuff to take a walk. This was a once in a lifetime trip, something that should be enjoyed and relished and LIVED. So I did all that. I enjoyed every second of it from that second forward.
We took a canal tour, at night, in a boat that was built in 1909. We toured the house where Ann Frank and 7 other souls lived in hiding for 2 years (that place was rife with spirits...talk about an emotional morning). We took turns down little alleyways and ate in tiny restaurants and got tipsy in the hotel bar (they filmed Oceans Twelve at the hotel, by the way). We talked about us and our history and where we are now. As each minute ticked away, I felt the walls around my heart start to fall down, brick by brick.
Funny how I had to travel 4,000 miles in order to see things clearly, huh? This must be one of those "can't see the forest for the trees" deals. Mayhap I had to get away from the craziness that is everyday life in order to appreciate what it feels like to have someone treat me like a queen.
Here are some highlights of the trip, with fancy bullet points:
- File this one under "It's A Small World After All": One of Danielle's BFF's, who is a flight attendant, happened to be working on our flight to Amsterdam. His name is Todd and when I introduced myself (I recognized him from pictures) he hooked us up real nice. Todd doesn't know this yet but I am destined to be the Grace to his Will. Or maybe the Karen to his Jack? We shall see. Thank you, Todd!
- I was shocked to see that they have little televisions in every seat on the planes now! Actual moving pictures, the talkies! For a few minutes I was all "we are now a nation of ADD riddled toddlers who have to be electronically pacified in order to sit still for more than ten minutes" and then I got sucked into "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter". And then "The Avengers" followed by "The Green Lantern". Little t.v.'s FTW!
- Here is when I think I started to fall a little bit in love with my travel companion: He's growing a beard/mustache thing for Movember. Personally, I think it's hot, but apparently it's driving him insane. We were discussing the facial hair and how long it will last, and after I pleaded with him to not shave it off, he said, "Well, the least you can do is change my blog name to Grizzly McCain."
- I almost got hit by a tall, attractive person on a bike. Several times. They bike EVERYWHERE there. No wonder there wasn't a muffin top in sight. Except for in the bathroom mirror at our hotel.
- I am now addicted to Stroopwafels. Apparently they sell them at Trader Joe's. I'm going to get some and eat all of them.
- You know your trip is officially over, you know you are really and truly back home when you find yourself in the middle of a kid smackdown. A smackdown that started over the big bag of miniature Toblerone candy bars I brought back as a souvenir for the angels. Sometimes I feel like I am living with the cast of Little Orphan Annie.
- I have learned that when my kids miss me, they show it in varying ways. One kid cried real tears when she and I finally saw each other, one was PISSED and let me know it, one played it cool but snuck (sneaked?) in a few extra hugs last night and one displayed a maturity and strength that I always knew was in him. I missed them, with every fiber of my being..but I think this little break was good for all of us. Even Big Daddy had to step up to the parenting plate, which apparently he did.
- And that's a good thing, because on the way home from Amsterdam, McCain started talking about a 2 week long trip around the world. Details to follow.
Happy Monday, friends.