Monday, June 15, 2009

Seasons of a woman's life

The first time I visited to Phuket, Phuket smelt of freedom. It was my first vacation without my parents. It was my first vacation with just friends. It was just after my 'A' Levels. Needless to say, the thought of the Phuket I went to then gives me a heady feeling. This is my third time in Phuket in the last 14 years. And each time, it has come to mean something entirely different. I am amazed how much my life has changed in the span of time it takes for an infant to become a rebellious teenager. And I think, in some ways, my life mirrors that analogy.

The first time, like I said, was a birth of new experiences. We went to Club Med where we ate and drank like there was no tomorrow or no weighing machine. I had no curfew (except for some strange warning from my mom to stay away from gypsies). I think I had enough alcohol for the first time to feel high and have a headache the next morning. We stayed up and lounged around because we could. We spent all day at the beach because we could although that meant lobster red shoulders and cheeks. I bought a white shift dress that I wouldn't be caught dead in today because it was short, tight, white and well, short. But for an 18 year old with a tiny waist, legs that had just won her prom night's best legs and a tan that glowed from a mile away, it seemed like the best choice.

The second time I went to Phuket, I was a fair bit older and somewhat older. I was married. I had my kids six months prior to the trip and it was my first vacation away from them. We chose luxury that time. Indulged as if on our honeymoon. The chauffeured driven Mercedes with reclining seats that took us from the airport to the resort. The villa that opened up to a pool where a chef would cook dinner for us and we dined by candlelight. It was a different type of freedom. For the first time in 6 months, Packrat and I were alone on our own, we had time for conversation, we had time to sleep and we had time to be like children carvoting in the waves, teenage surfer bums drinking mugs of cold beer (him) and coconuts (me) at the straw huts that peppered the beachline and adults dining with champagne. A divine break from reality.

This is my third time and this time, I am back in Phuket not just with Packrat but with the twins, the grandparents and a grandaunt to boot. This time, I am the twins' shadow. I'm up when they're up, I'm asleep when they're asleep (except for now). I'm in the pool when they are and any spare time I have, I'm trying to cater for their meals or wash/prepare their bottles. It defines my existence now. It could be worse I know. At least there are other people around who are able to take the twins' off my hands when I need to use the bathroom or prepare their meals. But this is the first vacation I've spent more time in the hotel room than out (except for the time when we went to Bintan and it rained 3 days straight). I'm struggling to break out, to break free, to have a moment just by myself or to talk a walk with Packrat by the water at night. I feel like a frustrated teen that is dying to break out and just break curfew for once except all I'm hankering for is some time to do my nails. And I watch these kids outside our window as they fling, flip and swing their way in space during their Trapeze School lessons and I'm wishing I could be there, soaring through the air without a care in the world.

The reality is that unlike a teenager, I am well aware of my responsibilities. And I have to carry them out. It is what propels me out of bed at the crack of dawn when the kids wake up because I cannot bring myself to fob them off or to leave others to tend to their morning needs. It is why I haven't chucked a fit about not seeing more of the resort than the children's pool and playground. I'm here for the twins and that's fine. Except, there's a little part of me, which has not sold out into Mommy mode who cries out for some air and space. That little part's not likely to get any air time soon. But I guess that's what it means to be all growed up. More than most 14 year olds would but I guess the difference is while 14 years have passed, I do not have the luxury of having the sensitivities of a 14 year old.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 00:37

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