A Trip Without the Kiddos: A writer’s first couple’s vacation far away & a babysitting adventure for the in-laws Part 1!

My husband and I have been away two times, a total of 3 nights, since our first daughter was born in 2009. I mention this not to complain or whine about the lack of time away from our girls; no, I am merely highlighting it for each reader to somewhat understand why I was such a basket case leading up to our trip out of the country.

This one trip will be longer than the two trips combined in the last eight years. Yes, I’ve flown across the country to Cali and Las Vegas, and my husband has taken work trips, but this time we were leaving together and enlisted the aid of two amazing grandparents. Was I excited when my hubby surprised me with a trip to the Bahamas? Um, yeah! But when the week started to close in, and we realized how unprepared we were to leave the girls for this amount of time and distance, the mental hang-ups took over.

Here’s a little more background. Our first trip away was for two nights, one night the girls were already asleep when we snuck away, and we were only an hour away. The second trip was two hours away (oh boy) and only for one night. So, we are way out of practice, and we don’t have family close by to whisk away on a whim. We also have a little 5-year old teeny tyrant, which made for quite a bit of stress and worry about how she’d behave for her grandparents.

I like to travel, my husband hates to fly, and we love to explore around Coastal VA since there’s so much to do nearby and neither of us is from the area. Our other little trips had been perfect. This time, we were actually “getting away.” Yes, our trip was super quick (about 3 hours each way), it’s not as if we crossed the pond or took a day to fly to Australia, but it was a big deal for us. Even packing became daunting. All I could think about was how far I was going to be away from the girls, that my husband wouldn’t be home either, and what about the crazy farm we have with a huge labradoodle, our 13-year-old rescue, and mini-panther cat that will cling to my in-laws window screen begging to be let in. I mean it’s crazy enough when we’re all there, and now we were taking ourselves out of the picture.

Our youngest (see tiny tyrant mentioned above) is the wild card. She finds danger, a hint of trouble, and she doesn’t do well with change, or restaurants really. She’s what you call a “strong-willed” child, and the will is strong with that one. My other daughter is a pleaser, she loves to help, and we had no worries about her, or about my in-laws. It was the teensy emergency room heat-seeking missile I concerned about, and yes, that is all my issue for sure! So, as every sane mother would do, I begged her not to sniff out and find trouble, to not touch, climb on, or do this or that. My oldest insisted she’d watch over her as well, but that made me feel even guiltier. I struggled; I may have needed a Xanax, to be honest. I couldn’t even show my husband how thankful and excited I was because I was terrified about the what if’s while we were gone.

One night my husband brought two brandy glasses with a small amount of whiskey in them for us to drink down after dealing with my panicking nature for a couple of days. Yes it helped, for that day, and then the other days came, and we have to review our wills, leaving emergency medical consent, get friends as a back-up, and on and on. At one point the hubby said, “this is the last time I’ll plan something like this.” That just made me sad, and I want to smack myself out of it like the lady freaking the hell out in Airplane. This was a couples vacation, a chance to explore a new place I’ve never experienced before. It’s going to be an adventure for us as a couple, and a retreat for me as a writer. I was thrilled to reconnect with him, to be inspired for my writing, to research for my new books and this very blog. Little did I know my first blog would be all about the panicky mother who feared flying away from her kids to the Bahamas, alongside her awesome husband who is terrified of flying period, what is wrong with us!?!

End of Part 1.

Coming soon, Part 2: We make it to paradise, but what’s happening at home?

Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear your similar stories or comments!

Parker

 

Parker Sinclair
Founder, Owner & Author
Rawlings Books, LLC
http://www.RawlingsBooks.com
Author of Trust: The Alex Conner Chronicles Book One, Truth: The Alex Conner Chronicles Book Two,  Forbidden: An Alex Conner Chronicle Novella (Book 2.5), & Only: The Alex Conner Chronicles Book Three adult urban fantasy/paranormal romance novels, and the YA Epic Fantasy/HEA Romance novel: Eve of the Exceptionals. Check out samples on Amazon, Smashwords, BN, Kobo, & iBooks.

 

Yes, it’s dark inside

Yes, it’s dark inside

I’m perfectly well aware that many of my Alex Conner stories have grit, darkness, and sadness within their pages. But, I also know I have made them heroic, full of humor, and for some of the characters and readers, life changing. Alex’s backstory was something I struggled with. As with most central characters, I wanted, no needed, her to have overcome incredible odds and intense circumstances. One night in 2000, after hours of dancing with friends in San Diego, one of my closest friends opened up to me about what a man did to her when she was a child. I was so completely heartbroken for her as I lay there watching her always smiling face fall into sadness, but then it came to me that I can share her story and give to her a powerful ending to that nightmare within my story. She was gracious in allowing me to merge parts of her into the Alex character, and I hope the ending of Trust gave her something in return, something for all who have been abused. She is a survivor and someone I truly look up to every day.

What I didn’t count on was the transformation I would have now two years later. Yes, I put pieces of myself, my experiences, and piece of the people I’ve met in my life into each part of the first book, but I wasn’t fully aware that I was also healing from my own past. Parts of Alex took on characteristics of a young me trying to claw my way out of toxic and abusive relationship that lasted over two years. These relationships, they don’t start out that way. It’s a slow process where love, or what feels like love, comes first. Then the first violent act is one disguised as protection or jealousy, and a young girl mistakes that for unbridled love- a prince charming fighting for her honor. For me, the ugly side of him reared its head most often in conjunction with his drinking. As we became closer, it was revealed that he was a victim of his own abuser, a continuation of a cycle he was dragged into, seemingly without a choice, a way out, or even understanding of what was happening to him, to us, and to our future relationships.

No one would understand, as even my friends and family could not fathom why I was with this boy. Even my grandfather was taken aback when he wore a hat to meet him for the first time. Maybe an insignificant thing to a teenage girl raised in a different time, but looking back I can now clearly see the disrespect that my grandfather immediately saw and felt. And yes, I stayed even though there were multiple times I was scared of him, when a blade danced along my back, when I was pushed so hard I fell down a flight of stairs, when he attacked my friends verbally and at one time physically, we he lied, cheated, swore, threw things, hit his own friends, and even fought his own abuser, his father, amongst delicately wrapped Christmas presents while his mother wailed in the background, her tears reflecting a rainbow of color amid the twinkling lights.

When you love someone, and see their own tortured past, would any of you stay and try to save them, as I did? Many of you would have walked away long before I did. I tried, many times. Our relationship was tumultuous. Broken off and pieced back together more times than I can count. A staff member saw an interaction he and I had in the hallway, how he was talking to me and the way I was holding myself. Soon after I was called into the guidance office. While speaking with my counselor for the first time someone used the words “abusive relationship”. Yes, friends and family warned me away from him, but those words were powerful coming from someone outside of my life. When she called him in so we could talk, and I have seen him furious, but I have never seen him talk to an adult aside from his father in that manner. I could almost see steam rising off his body; his eyes bore into mine only once, telling me I betrayed him that this should have been our life, our secret to bear. How dare I tell this stranger a thing? And yes, we broke up, again, but we did get back together, even trying this battered relationship as I went away to college, but my counselor’s words always stayed with me, a warning in the back of my mind. I saw another counselor at college; it felt good to speak to someone who wasn’t close to me, who would listen to my secrets, who would help me listen to myself. So much so that I longed to study the human mind, psychology, and part of me longed to help others like me; however, that didn’t come till much later in life.

I left that abusive relationship behind many years ago. But some of the scars followed me, just as they did Alex. Trust was hard to come by, especially when dating, and some of the ways he treated me impacted my behavior, as if tendrils of the monster he turned into left a mark upon my being. I became jealous easily, was less confident, sometimes quick to anger, but one thing that stuck with me, helping me through it all when I didn’t want anyone to know what I allowed to happen, was my love of writing. Throwing my thoughts on paper led to poem books, many of which reflected my struggles with relationships. A novel was what I really hoped to write, and even though he never came to mind when I cycled through plots and character development, it was there, that darkness that had left a mark inside my heart and mind.

When I finally decided that I really wanted to continue my education, my high school counselor’s memory came back to me. Someone had saved me once, and even though it took time for me to really listen, I finally did. I wanted to be that voice for some other boy or girl who just needed to see and hear the truth. As I went through my master’s program in counseling it really shined a light on my life. There were parts of me I wanted to improve. Since I was going to be a mentor and counselor for young lives, I wanted to make sure I was someone they would look up to as well as someone they could learn from.

When Trust was completed twelve years after I completed my counseling program, I didn’t think of him, or the painful part of my past, at least not consciously. But as the years have gone by since the novel was completed, I have read books and posts about survivors of abuse and something in me stirred. I re-read the passages of how Alex felt when she had no control over her own life—the helplessness. How the abuse she suffered impacted her even when she thought she had gotten rid of her abuser for good. But in the end, he is gone and that part of her life is over. She could move on. She could forgive herself. Trust allowed my psyche to beat back my own lingering demons, to heal from what the relationship had done to me and to stop being so angry at myself for what I thought was weakness so long ago. So yes, this book was for me in more ways then I had realized. It is for all survivors of abusive relationships, for my friend, for anyone who has been a victim, who has felt helpless, and who has suffered at the hands of someone who controlled their body, mind, and soul.

Last year I finally revisited to the place I lived during high school and college summers, the place where this relationship began, where I was reminded that it truly existed. I never wanted to return to the small town in Colorado, I felt a relentless resentment towards this place we had moved to during my seventh grade year and that I never went back to after the Christmas of 2000. This summer I returned to visit family who still remained in the desert town of Western Colorado and I realized I hated who I was during many of the years I was there, but it had nothing to do with the actual place- the beautiful Colorado desert. It was truly a heart opening experience. I had finally allowed myself to love this place and to forgive myself. Yes, the old me had stayed because he had been only a child when he was warped into someone who didn’t know anything other than that type of love-a raw angry, controlling, terrible love. I am thankful that I was strong enough so that my part in that cycle of abuse was forever broken. As I shift away from myself, as it is my nature to be empathic and caring, I hope he has also found the strength to break the cycle. That he has love in his life a, genuine and kind love, one that he didn’t have from someone who was supposed to care for him the most.

Thank you for reading this soul-bearing post, and I hope everyone had an amazing holiday season!

Parker

Parker Sinclair

Founder, Owner & Author

Rawlings Books, LLC

http://www.RawlingsBooks.com

Author of Trust: The Alex Conner Chronicles Book OneTruth: The Alex Conner Chronicles Book Two, & Forbidden: An Alex Conner Chronicle Novella adult contemporary fantasy novels and Eve of the Exceptionals (YA fantasy releasing January 2oth, 2016).

Eve of the Exceptionals

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