One of my karate instructors was asking tonight about the impending trip and remarked that he was jealous. It reminded me just how very lucky I am to have this opportunity. The husband has always traveled a lot for his research in nuclear physics. When we were first married, friends and colleagues often asked me why I didn't go with him to some of the more interesting places. It occasionally was hard to get people to understand that besides the full-time job I had at that time, there was the fact that we wanted to put as much money as possible aside for the post-children days when I might not be working of working full-time. During those young-child years, the husband did try to travel less, especially after younger son's comment, at the age of three, that he wanted to do a particular thing "the next time Dad visits." Our Vietnam trip three years ago was perfectly timed in that the sons could both interrupt college or graduate school and come along. It somewhat made up for the several preceding years in which we had not taken vacations because one or both of the sons was spending the summer preparing for a black belt exam in kendo.
Now, with both sons gainfully employed, it will be just the husband and me. An extended second honeymoon? Perhaps on weekends but the husband's weekdays will be spent working and likely some of his evenings as well. Since it is that work--teaching--that allows us the chance to be in Vietnam in the first place, it can't be short-changed. I know that my days will be much different from three years ago when the sons and I had our routine of playing Scrabble while the rooms were cleaned each morning, then exploring the city before and after a leisurely lunch occasionally with the husband/father. While I can play Scrabble solitaire on my iPod this time around, it just won't be the same. I do have a list of places I want to visit or re-visit; I don't expect the fact that I will be alone will be a problem. I have another unwritten list of creative things I want to do to take advantage of having time without normal work or house obligations. Above all, I hope daily to remember to be grateful for having this opportunity and not look a gift horse, or husband, in the mouth.