Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Travel confusion

Last night, in Copenhagen, I asked Zoe to pack her backpack with toys to take to Scotland where she will spend a week with her dad (and his new girlfriend but that's a whole other issue that I'm not ready to go into here yet) but she quickly got upset with me. "But how will I remember to take them back?", she cried and I had to sit down with her and explain that she was not going to Stockholm despite us flying there, she was continuing straight to Scotland, before coming back to Copenhagen in a week. No wonder she was confused because the past weeks have been nothing but Mommy travel, Daddy travel, her spending weekends with babysitters and now five days in Denmark. Now she was going to Scotland via Stockholm because I have to fly with her still. We sat hugging for a while and I empathized with her feeling of being tossed around like a ball and not being able to decide anything herself. I promised that very soon she would be able to decide on her own when she wanted to go where and how she wanted to go. Not that I think that is really a possibility but I need to figure something out. I am a structured parent who believe in stability and routines and parents' obligation to say no to their child, but I am also very aware of children's powerlessness in their lives, particularly in a split family like ours where her whereabouts depend mostly on our work travels. Yes, it's true, her home for the night mostly depends on which one of her parents are in Stockholm at that time.

After comforting her, I told Zoe (even though it was 9pm and bedtime) that we could play anything she liked for the next 15 minutes; she wanted to jump in bed, play magic ice powers and have a glass of milk. I decided to try to stick to the next step after this and told Zoe that after six days with Daddy she was coming back to me for 20 days, showing two hands two times. She was excited and we left it at that. I did not tell her that in the middle of those 20 days we are going to the US, first two days in New York, then to San Francisco where we will stay two days with my aunt, then Zoe will spend 11 days with her dad there before coming back to me and fly to Chicago where she will have a babysitter for two days and then go back to New York for a week with me. Both her dad and I got some work in California and will go back for a couple of weeks (he is staying for 5 weeks). This will be my first time back since we moved almost three years ago and I'm very excited. I'm also worried that I'll miss it too much when I'm there but hopefully it will be okay. I'm excited to see old friends, colleagues and show Zoe where she was born. But right now, all she knows about is her next trip.

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