I didn't quite understand the novelty of it much. In my world, women travel alone all the time - even moms travel alone all the time and dads take over the home front when moms are away. Sure, it's an adjustment for the dads - just as it was an adjustment for spouse. Not that I was having it easy either. Three days into the trip, I was missing the children so much that I nearly changed my ticket to come back early. But I had gone there with a purpose - to spend some time with Ma and if I didn't travel now I probably wouldn't have been able to see her this year at all. And this time alone with her, was something that she needed and as much as I hate to admit it, I needed it too.
To be very honest, I was a little weary of traveling alone. In the past, I've landed in some soup or the other pretty much every time I got on a plane without spouse. This time I had braced myself for the worst - a terrorist attack or a plane crash even. But fortunately it was completely uneventful except when I was questioned for the Mexico stamp in my passport at Frankfurt...that was completely bizarre!! And if I can help it, I will never fly through Frankfurt again - their duty-free shopping sucks...big time!!!
It was good to be myself again for a change - not the wife, the mommy or the daughter-in-law...just me, the way I used to be once upon a time...well almost! I say almost, because over the course of the 10 days, I realized how much I have changed since I left home over 15 years ago. Through my late teens and early twenties, Ma used to be pretty strict about late nights and we locked horns so many times over that issue. I was never given the house keys, nor the car/driver for late night uses. Even when I used to live alone in another city, she used to call up to check if I was home or gallivanting around town in the middle of the night. That used to drive me completely crazy - of not being able to get away from her scrutinizing gaze even after leaving home. This time, the house keys were handed over without having to ask for them, there was a car waiting for me 24 hours, no one asked me where I was going, who I was meeting and yet, every time I went out, not only I explicitly told Ma where I was going and with whom, also I was back home well before mid-night every time...voluntarily! What does that mean? Am I more responsible now? Or am I just old?
Bumped into some people I knew in another life in a club. Nothing seemed to have changed. They still meet at the club on Saturdays - sit in the sealed air-conditioned chamber smoking cigarettes and drinking whiskey, the DJ still plays music from 80's and early 90's way too loud and the dance floor is still filled with aunties and uncles who has a bit to drink and have shed their inhibitions - the conversation has changed a bit...now they talk about their kids and their high cholesterol rather than the hot deal or the hotter babe they have landed. Some of those babes are now wives and have puffed up beyond recognition and I didn't know how to react to the "OMG... you haven't changed one bit!" squeals and the air-kisses. It was like stepping into a time capsule and it was surreal!! Once upon a time, I'd have been perfectly happy spending my Saturday evening there, but this time, I couldn't wait to get out. I stayed there for a polite half-an hour and then bid adieu to a place and time in my life I refuse to be nostalgic about any more!!
So I'm back. The boys clearly missed me - sonny boy showed a rare display of affection by hugging me in front of the whole world, when I went to pick him up from school. Bonny baby's vocabulary has tripled and I realized that I literally live to hear him call me "mammy"!! The girl has become a woman and the daughter has become a mother...it's good to be back home!!