Right now I am feeling like the worst parent in the world. I have just dropped the kids at school which involved dropping a nearly hysterical girl-child over to her teacher. You see, this time tomorrow I will be boarding a plane to fly to Papua New Guinea to walk the Kokoda track. It will be the trip of a lifetime, I will spend 8 days walking, challenging myself physically and mentally. Hopefully during this trek I will find out about who I really am. What I have discovered already is that I am a mum, and my heart is breaking watching my littlest sob in fear. My girl-child is an overly socially aware 6 year old. Not only is she aware of the world directly around her, she is aware of the wider world. It hasn’t helped that over the past 3 months she has overheard ‘friends’ lecturing me about the dangers of walking a track such as the Kokoda Track. Hearing or overhearing people tell me that I need to drink plenty of water to stay healthy followed by other well wishers with ‘don’t drink too much water or you will die’! statements has left her more than a little concerned. That is exactly what a child doesn’t need to hear when her mum is about to embark on that track. Her fears have been manifesting in almost daily nightmares that is contributing to lack of sleep making her even more fragile than she already is.
We have had plenty of snuggly chats discussing the amazing adventure that I am going to have and the only thing I am sad about is that I will miss my family and I wished that they could be with me. We have planned for ways for me to stay fit and healthy; she knows that all of the training that I have been doing will make me stronger on the track, she has read with me about the food that we carry with us and seen and tried the hydration packs to know that I will always get just the right amount of water to keep me healthy. She has seen photos of the other people that I am trekking with and in fact could probably even point out from the photos who the paramedic is and also the other first-aid trained trekkers! She knows we will be trekking together to keep each other safe but all of this doesn’t undo the knowledge that people do actually die when doing the trek, she doesn’t know the circumstances surrounding the deaths (nor do I), only that they took place. We have talked about the excitement of having to catch 3 different planes to get there. Fortunately I have made sure the news isn’t on TV when she is about to hear of the tragedy of recent air crashes, so the air travel isn’t a problem.
I am going to write a journal and take about 30 bajillion photos as I trek and I am giving her (and boy-child too) a journal that they can record all the adventures and dramas that happen when I am away so that they can share them with me when I get back. Yesterday girl-child made me a softie to take with me, to keep me safe and to give cuddles to when I am missing her. I am making one for both boy-child and girl-child, to leave in their beds as I sneak out of the house in the wee hours of the morning tomorrow. I have bookmarked the site where I will be blogging daily so she can read about what we have achieved. She will be surrounded by family and friends the entire time I am away and will actually have more opportunity to be spoilt rotten than usual. Despite all of this, I feel still like the worst parent in the world, I chose to go on this adventure, I chose to leave them at home with man-child and grand parents, I chose to try and make myself a better person. I know that in the long run we will all benefit from this time yet right now I am so completely saddened by not being here to protect my babies. My heart is torn in two, wanting to go on a grand adventure and be here keeping my family safe and sound.