We just got back from Sudan. Not exactly a trip I ever expected to make, but my sister went and fell in love with a man from Sudan, and they wanted to have a wedding there. Before we left, we agonized about whether we should take J or not. In the end, we decided to leave him here at home for a week, since his aunties and grandparents volunteered to live in our wee little house and take care of him (!!!). Here are a few retrospective thoughts on that choice, our trip, and how our first week-long separation went.
Why I’m glad that we didn’t take J to Sudan
- I am typing this because I woke up at 1:00 a.m. feeling fresh as a daisy. I shudder to think of the effects of Sudan –> California jet lag on a 2 year old.
- Instead of spending a lot of my time worrying about J’s sleep schedule or trying to feel okay about having him ride on my lap in a diesel-fume filled taxi with no seat belts, I got to BE ON VACATION. For a WEEK.
- A 36 hour travel day. Not to mention the fact that on the way home, A and I were both sick (as in throwing-up-into-plastic-magazine-covers-since-Turkish-Airlines-doesn’t-seem-to-stock-barf-bags sick).
- I had uninterrupted time to fall in love with filmmaking again. Bring on the Sudan wedding documentary!!
- I got to hold little 4 month old baby, Bashir and soothe him to sleep in the midst of all of the wedding shenanigans. The look in his mother’s eyes (some combination of exhaustion, helplessness and gratitude) reminded me so much of myself when J was that age. And it felt so therapeutic to be able to help her even just a little bit.
- I feel more grateful than ever for the community we’ve created around us at home. I really do believe that “it takes a village” to raise a child. And since leaving J in our family and friends’ capable hands for a week, I really believe that we have one.
Why we’ll take Jonah to Sudan when he’s older, inshallah
- Because I fell in love with my new Sudanese family, and I want them to know my son.