It’s Sunday evening, and I’ve just had another FaceTime call from my Best Beloved. He’s in Vienna visiting an old friend. Today, he went on a hike in the hills near the city before taking in a recital by a Bulgarian pianist (Mozart, Bach, Liszt, Chopin). Now he’s about to have schnitzel for dinner.
I wave at everyone else in the background and tilt the phone so that it shows Ra-Ra. She smiles broadly the moment she sees her dad’s face on the screen.
There was a time, once, when I might have been a tiny bit jealous of the day my husband had. Mine, in comparison, was desperately dull. Apart from some painting, writing and dog wrangling, I’ve spent the day either feeding RaRa or snoozing. Yesterday my husband was in Bratislava for the day; tomorrow he’ll be back in London before flying back home. In contrast, the highlight of my weekend was schlepping to Northriding to finally pick up the curtains I ordered back in January.
Once upon a time, international travel was my major ambition in life, but it’s so impractical now. Besides the challenges of getting leave and traveling with a baby, there’s the small matter of school fees. I’ve already started saving, and every rand I spend on airfare and foreign currency is a rand I can’t spend on RaRa’s education. Last year’s trip to Japan was an experience of a lifetime as well as a financial disaster, and I will need to be much more prudent in future.
Perhaps my feelings about will change as RaRa grows older. Perhaps the wanderlust will set in again and I’ll feel a gnawing sense of loss and regret at all the places I’ve wanted to experience, and haven’t.
In the mean time, that old, pre-baby version of myself has vanished. I wonder if she will ever return.