What makes a vacation a real vacation? The kind where you come home feeling rested and happy instead of stressed and tired, needing a vacation after all of that “vacation.” The standard definition of a vacation is time spent away from home or work, usually traveling, but there is another definition: “a respite or a time of respite from something.”
I love that, because for me, that is the difference between the stressful “vacations” and a vacation (and if you ask me, we take far too many of the former and not nearly enough of the latter). Not just time away from home or work, but a respite. That’s what Costa Rica was for us. A respite from work, yes, and from schedules and responsibilities, and also probably most importantly a respite from all things baby.
For nearly a year, life has been “will we have a baby,” then trying to have a baby, then gestating a baby, then having a dead baby, grieving a dead baby, “when do we want to try to have another baby.” It’s always there. In Costa Rica, it wasn’t. There were no daily reminders of what we lost, no waking up sad because I’m not pregnant anymore (since I wouldn’t be, even if she’d lived). No discussions about trying again or really even worrying about if I am pregnant again (I’m not, as far as I know). And also kind of a blessed lack of babies in general, most people probably not wanting to take on international travel with a newborn. It was just Dan and me, in the rainforest, in the ocean, at the beach, in the mountains, driving around. A vacation that was only about us. The timing and the location were exactly right, and we both emerged feeling more like ourselves than we have since she died.
And still, this experience is so much a part of us. There were moments, because now there always are. A little girl, maybe 3 or 4, running full tilt on the beach. And I wonder what Amy would have been like at 3 or 4 on the beach, and I’m sad she won’t get to be. Two little girls, sisters, playing together, and I’m sad that if we have another daughter, she’ll never know her older sister. These things were there, like they always are, but then they were gone and we were back in our moment. Something sad has happened that can never be undone, but good things have too, and will continue to.
I guess this is all a long way of saying that we finally feel less depressed, and it’s freeing.