I'm participating in an online writing group hosted by Ann Dee Ellis. She gives a prompt and encourages 8 minutes of uninterrupted writing. Here's the most recent exercise:
Last year my younger brother Jeshua told me he and his wife were expecting their third child. The baby was due in August of this year, but long before his birth I was already cooking up an idea to fly across the country to help. I hadn't even weaned Lincoln yet and there I was, considering leaving him with his dad for a week. It didn't seem super-practical at the time, but I still wanted to do it!
Although I'd pretty much made the decision in my head, I stewed on it for a while before bringing it up to Kevin. At the time, he was regularly getting four-day "weekends" after working seven straight days, and I thought we could use that time off to our advantage. He could take a few extra days off and add them to those long weekends and BOOM! I could easily leave the kids with him without him using up an excessive amount of paid leave.
Still, I looked up flights and considered which month would be best without saying anything out loud. I agonized over whether it would be best to go in August when Aspen wasn't yet in school, or in September when my nephew would be a little older and my sister-in-law might appreciate help after my brother's paternity leave ended. Flights cost about the same, so I finally talked to Kevin about it.
He seemed a little hesitant at first, which is understandable since he's never had the kids alone for any extended period of time. But I reminded him how beneficial it was for me to have his sister come visit us after his Meckel hospitalization fiasco, and that now I had an opportunity to pay it forward. I think that sealed the deal, and I texted my brother.
"Do you think Julia would be okay with me flying out there without my kids to help you guys after the baby is born?"
I'd texted Jeshua in the first place so it'd be easier for Julia to decline if she was uncomfortable with my offer. When I didn't hear back from him for a while I worried I was imposing, or that it'd be stressful to them in some way. But then I got a response from Julia. Something like,
"ARE YOU KIDDING THAT WOULD BE AMAZING?!"
I was instantly flooded with relief, and so excited that I would get to play the role of helpful Auntie/sister-in-law. It was good to start moving forward booking tickets and prepping Lincoln for my departure... even though it was months away.
Although I'm nervous about Kev being stressed and overwhelmed with the kids by himself for a few days, and I worry about my plane crashing and him having to raise the kids without me, and I worry about bringing plane germs to my niece and nephews and getting them sick, and I worry about messing up their schedules or not actually being helpful, I'm glad I made the decision to offer to help.
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