As an anniversary present to myself ( one year out from last chemo) I did something that I wouldn't have dreamed about doing a few years ago. I left the country without my family for three whole days. Yep, I flew the coop. Just like that, I hopped on a plane and went to visit my parents at their winter refuge in the Dominican Republic. I felt really gutsy. It has been twenty years since I have visited that beautiful untamed island paradise and it seemed ever so much more civilised than it did twenty years ago, which isn't saying a whole lot.
I had so much fun preparing for my getaway. I renewed my passport, ugly photo and all, which had recently expired. I got babysitters lined up to pick the children up after school. I left pages and pages of notes outlining every detail of every one's day, down to the minute, for my husband. Not that I was skeptical or anything.
When I arrived at the airport my seventy year old parents were there to meet me with a dusty beaten up SUV that would take us to their condominium. My dad got behind the wheel and started driving like a maniac with all of the locals. Horns were beeping, chickens were running around by the side of the road and I took a deep clean breath of air and thought about how I would spend the afternoon in this wild island paradise.
We turned off of the main road and immediately the terrain changed. Immediately we were jostled about in the car as it lurched forward and from side to side. We were on the dirt road that leads to the development where my parents spend a couple of months every winter. Ah, it is nice to know that some things are still unchanged. As we bumped and bounced our way to their home, I thought about my parents and this place they were taking me. Should I be worried about them? They are getting older. Then I came back to my senses, they have a little bit of latent hippie in them and this is their way of holding on to it. It is great to get back to your roots.
We went to the beach that afternoon and I lounged and read and drank a pina colada. I did that for two and a half days straight, calling home once a day to check in. The children cried and I felt a little bit bad but, hey, they would survive, or so I hoped. I was so far away from my real life that it felt like it belonged to someone else. This trip was my reward to myself for last winter. As I was lying sick in my bed last year I dreamt of the sun and the sand every day to help me get through the chemo. I vowed then and there that I was going to spend a weekend in the sun this year. Perhaps it is a little bit selfish, but I feel like I earned it.
As I rode home on the plane after three days of natural Vitamin D and rest and relaxation, I started to worry about everyone at home. I hoped that they had done alright. I missed them too and next time I go away we will all go together. When I arrived at the house I quickly tiptoed into their rooms to see their little perfect faces. They were deep in slumber and looked positively cherubic. They were all in one piece.
Yesterday I was informed that daddy is a really great cook, a lot more fun and gets everyone to school on time. Instead of having my feelings hurt, I was relieved. They had all been okay for a couple of days. I am not indispensable. I am already booking my trip for next year.