Tuesday 13 August 2019

Off On Their Own Travels

If you follow me on Instagram stories, you will know that my oldest three kids have travelled to Pakistan without us to spend their summer holidays.  We thought it was too long since our last visit to Pakistan (or abroad for that matter, ten years ago) and that they were missing out on their language, culture and getting to know their dad’s family.

We booked the tickets, which hubby booked for a few days later and told them to pack what they needed and make a list of the rest.  Then I took them shopping (in between weddings and work) and for a last lunch before they leave.

I thought I would be worried and anxious with them away, but I trust my daily protective prayers for my family and I trust my husbands family to look after them probably even better than I would. They were super excited at the prospect of travelling by plane and having lots to do (and eat – teenagers!) in Pakistan.

Once we saw them off, there were some things that I noticed: despite the Babies and my in-laws still being at home, the house was very peaceful.  The babies are enjoying ruling the roost and not getting kicked off the computer by their siblings.  Most of all I have had a few weeks without arguing, shouting, disciplining, breaking up fights, sending friends home, going to friends’ home and dragging boys home or calling Little Lady to ask her where she is.

The extra time and the peace have really given me time to clear my head.  You don’t realise that you are doing some things in a way that you wouldn’t if you had time to reflect or think things through.  One of the things I realised was how late I was still sending the kids friends home or the kids upstairs, or even rounding them up from their friends or neighbours’ houses.  It meant it got quite late by the time everyone was settled and I was finished and I never got any quiet time or time to myself.  It’s made me determined to have an 6pm curfew for both friends coming here and my kids going anywhere. Also a peace rule, of people need to get to their rooms and quieten down by 9pm – one can hope.

The time away has given me time to go beyond continuously picking up after them, to deep cleaning their rooms and clearing out a lot of their stuff to donate to charity or give away.

I’ve been in touch with them most days thanks to WhatsApp, and they seem to be having a great time.  Their cousins welcomed them with flowers, and they have been out every day to museums, shopping and theme parks.  They get to see Eid in Lahore including participating in the Qurbani  (sacrifice) and they are gearing up for Independence Day celebrations.  Gorgeous has polished up his Urdu much to his dad’s joy.

I thought I would miss them, which I have, but not as much as I thought I would – I think my brain just needed the relief from the noise, complaining and fighting. Every now and again, I get a pang of sadness at missing Gorgeous’ exuberance or Little Man’s dad jokes and kindness.  Funnily enough, the one I missed the most is the one that gives the most stress and anxiety – Little Lady, for all her cynicism, sarcasm and resolute intent to spend all my money, is the one that I find myself looking for and wanting to hear her voice.

They are away until school starts in about three weeks’ time, so I am going to make the most of it and get some proper rest, catch up on lots of things, enjoy the babies and hopefully take everyone away for a short break here insh’Allah

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