Never is the expression “It takes a village” as true as when parents plan a trip alone together and need to arrange childcare. For me, the prospect is so daunting that it’s always been easier to stay home. Who else besides Tim and me would perform the million tasks a day that parenthood requires: the meals and lunch-packing, school drop-off and pick-up, the lessons/playtime/homework, the bath and bedtime routine? What trip could be worth disrupting that order for chaos? For the past eight years, the answer has been “none.”
But a few months ago, Tim was invited to lecture to a group of physicians in Croatia and Italy. If I wanted, I could go along, too. Tim forwarded me the invitation from his office with this subject line: “Childcare?”
Enter my youngest sister, Deanna. The mother of three girls—two teens and one almost—she lives in Boston and is fabulous with children. She adores Olivia and Mateo. When I told her about the opportunity, she didn’t hesitate. “You must go,” she said. “I’ll fly out to help.” With the support of her daughters and her husband, Deanna rearranged her schedule. My sister, Patrice, also offered to pitch in.
Thanks to them, I’m writing this in a hotel in Dubrovnik, overlooking the Adriatic Sea. As soon as Tim finishes his morning lecture, he and I will explore this spectacular walled city. I miss my children, but I know they’re in good hands.