I posted the shorter version of this on FB & Instagram, the day after it happened.
Recently I’ve found myself thinking about Jane a little more than I have throughout most of the trip. Surprisingly she hasn’t really been in my head much since her birthday way back in October. I’m sure it’s been a combination of things. Sure there have been random, significant moments when she was talked about, remembered or the boys had questions they wanted answered (Christmas day, the Great Barrier Reef, at certain times in NZ, watching the Hello Goodbye episode, etc.) but for the most part the 3 of us have just been doing our thing. All caught up in our own world of making memories, making friends and making fun. Maybe now, she’s around more because we’re in India and I can imagine her in tears, laughing at me as I try to navigate my way through the chaos of smells, sights and sounds. Or maybe it’s because I’m stressed to my limit and have been cursing her name in jest for leaving me stuck with these two, doing all the heavy lifting. Regardless, it’s been nice. Welcome even. And I’ve been having some fun with it. Joking with the boys, while trying to hide my anxiousness, “what would mommy think about us being stuck in this predicament?” or “do you think Mommy would have you walking through a busy bazaar this late at night??” They laugh and it always leads to more questions and stories.
And then, like grief is apt to do, I was hit by a wave of it when I took the boys on their first camel ride.
Years ago, Jane & I did an overnight camel safari in the Sahara desert in Morocco. We originally planned to do a 5 day trek on the camels, but when we arrived in Ouarzazate (the gateway to the Sahara) we were disappointed to find out that trip wasn't available.
They offered us an overnight trip instead. Reluctantly we accepted.
The following morning we headed out.
An hour into our trek?
We hated every part of it.
Camels smell, are irritable and a nightmare to ride.
Spending the night sleeping in the Sahara was beyond incredible.
But riding a camel for hours? No thanks.
I'm sharing all of this to say the last thing I wanted to do was go on another camel safari. But when you're travelling with an 8 & 11 year old who had never seen a camel, let alone ridden one, sometimes you don't get to make the decisions.
This time, an hour into our trek?
I was loving it
They were laughing and giggling and squealing.
And imagination nation'ing.
Having the time of their life.
I've said from the start my most favourite is watching everything through their eyes.
And yesterday was that.
And as I was riding up ahead, and listening to them giggle and squeal, it allowed me a quiet moment of reflection. Back to our trek through the Sahara. Jane and I hated riding those camels back in Morocco, but eventually we succumbed and were laughing and giggling too, at the predicament we had gotten ourselves into.
And then thinking she would be loving every minute of this, as well. Yep.
The Taj Mahal. There’s really nothing to say. It’s simply as stunning as I had ever imagined. Spending an evening watching light from the disappearing sun dance upon and around it and then arriving back again in the peaceful early morning hours was perfect. There is nothing quite like when you get your first glimpse of the Taj. through the entrance gate. It looks so remote, so tiny. But as you slowly walk towards it, you realize just how large and breath taking it really is. We explored and people watched and spent just the perfect amount of time there. All super happy we made the effort to get there.
India is still beating me down. Big time. I’m leaning more towards cutting short our time here. I want to stick it out and I REALLY (Sully's been teaching me how to do that ;) want to see Varanasi & Darjeeling, but I’m not sure my head can handle much more. Or if the boys can handle much more of me, either! It’s full on. All day long. It feels like work. Not really relaxing at all. And I'm not certain the reward is worth it. I don’t have an exit strategy yet, but may start thinking of one. We’ll see.