My DH took the children away last week. I couldn’t go because of work, so I (rather forlornly) waved them off to Beirut, where their grandparents live.
It was the first time I’d had to ‘let the boys go’, and I felt strangely untethered, as though gravity had disappeared – until I rediscovered how much extra time there is when you’re the only person in the house (things stay exactly where you leave them, it’s crazy!)
Our nanny did the children’s packing, but when I got home from work, DH was doing some pruning.
Now, when I pack the cases, I’m pretty thorough. If we got stuck on a desert island, we could be self-sufficient thanks to my packing (which is sometimes, I admit, excessive – but then I’ve got nearly nine years’ of experience of travelling with children who create laundry like nobody’s business).
Men, I’ve realised, view packing quite differently. DH had thrown out several T-shirts; when I tried to put baseball caps in, I had to argue their case; and as for taking suntan lotion, you’d think I was attempting to sneak a brick into the suitcase. (“There’ll be some there,” was DH’s viewpoint. “Just take it, in case,” I replied.)
So I did have to secretly smile when DH’s hand-luggage only plans were stymied by the class bear. The mascot is actually a gorilla – at least a foot tall. As Son2 left school clutching the stuffed toy – hardly able to believe his luck that he was the first to take him away – DH must have groaned inwardly at the gorilla’s surprisingly large size.
At the back to school night, another dad had quipped, “If he’s excess baggage, he’s not going.” But, given the jet set life of a travelling toy in an international school, you just know that the class gorilla has probably scuba-dived in the Maldives; made it to Hong Kong Disneyland; not to mention enjoyed weekend trips to Oman and Turkey.