Updated: Jul 7, 2019
Well there I was... walking a mile in the rain with a rumbling stomach and a crying baby strapped to my chest, in France. My son and I were a long, long, long way from home, (Denver) and had not been home for a few weeks because we were miraculously traveling Europe. Though most of the trip had been a sweet dream, this specific moment was one of the worst moments of my life.
"You can't travel to Europe by yourself with a 1 year old!"
"With what money?"
"Where would you stay?"
"Traveling with two parents is do-able but just a single mother is too hard!"
"No way you can plan this trip in one month!"...
But there we were, almost three weeks into our trip to Europe, visiting our third country and walking in the rain, balling our eyes out. What was supposed to be a nice dinner in Calais, France turned into a painful memory.
So what happened?
I realized I had no idea how to raise a human being, specifically a toddler.
So what really happened??
After an intense itinerary of traveling and not having time to just sit down and treat myself to a nice meal, I decided to do just that on my last day in France. I skipped breakfast to save my appetite for a lunch that would knock my socks off. We caught the bus into town to a widely recommended restaurant. Upon arriving I was notified that the restaurants' in this town don't serve food until 7PM... it was 3PM. "I'll wait" I said in my terrible french. My son and I explored the small town but daaaaaang it was cold. The restaurant let us wait inside while it got colder outside but my son became more and more restless.
It seemed as if this specific night my son went from a baby to a toddler. He screamed and cried and threw his worst tantrum in that restaurant. He wanted to be independent and crawl around and go up to every person. I was so embarrassed as his screams became louder. The staff was understanding at first and even tried to comfort him but the closer it got to 7PM the more frustrated he got until finally the owner of the restaurant asked us to leave. I smelled the food cooking, saw it coming out steaming on the plates. It was the meal I was dreaming of while the rest of my trip I had been eating food from the subway stations and quick stops.
I walked out of the restaurant with my crying, kicking baby, so frustrated with him and with life. I bring him to France and this is how he repays me? I was hungry, my back was in pain from the 40+ miles I had walked in Europe carrying him on my chest, tired from the sleepless nights, exhausted from being a mom. I wanted to leave him in France, so I could travel the world and eat my meals in peace. Why did I have to be a mom? What sick joke had God played on me? Not to mention that the bus stopped running and now it was raining, I would have to walk back to the hotel in the dark, hungry and pissed.
The worst part of this really wasn't that I didn't get my french meal, it was that for the first time I felt the pain of being a mother so intensely. The pain that your life was not yours anymore, the entrapment, the loneliness, the embarrassment and the sacrifice...these were the things I was trying to escape by going to Europe but ended up confronting.
I went to Europe to prove that just because I was a young, single mother didn't mean I had to give up on my dreams & my life. Although it was extremely hard, I did just that, I lived one of my biggest dreams. I took my son & I on an adventure of a lifetime! We went to Germany, Paris, the top of the Eiffel tower, Chateau de Versailles, London, just to name a few things (I'll be blogging a lot more about this trip). There were so many magical moments, so many tests of strength and will. I am so much stronger because of that journey and I know that if I can survive that, I can survive so much more. I am grateful for that experience and I can't wait to share all the sweet, bitter and bittersweet experiences with you.
The hard days show you what you're made of. Don't let one bad moment get the best of you. Stay grateful for the miracle of life.