Like all trips, in the beginning, all I could think was “OMG, how am I going to survive 12 days with you by myself?” and by the end, all I could wonder was where did all the time go?
I’ll freely admit, it was a little overwhelming as it got closer to take-off time when it’d be just you and me. Father and son. What was supposed to be a family vacation to celebrate your great grandmother’s 100th birthday evolved into a father-son bonding trip when your mother’s passport didn’t make it back in time.
It was all hectic, trying to keep track of everything, but I wouldn’t say I was scrambling per se. The mental load, they call it. I had read about it plenty – the project manager of the household, a mantle your mother typically takes on – and while I understood it, experiencing it was quite another thing. But fortunately, I’ve been involved enough to have a clue about how you function and what you like.
And from the minute we touched down in Hong Kong, we did have family around, which obviously helps a ton. We got to spend a lot of time with your grandma and yeye as well. And while they could help keep you occupied during the day, oh my word the jet lag! We didn’t go to sleep until 5am the first night. So what did we do except play “cafe” and with your Brio airplane. And it carried on like this for the next few nights. We had some good times being up on the wrong side of day – midnight runs to McDonald’s for french fries (and you then needing to poop but refusing to go in the public toilet…I don’t blame you), room service Hainan chicken rice, and tons of cereal.
Aside from your Chippendale moment at the China immigration line where you took off your shirt and ran around, you were a smooth operator getting around Hong Kong and flying to Xiamen. Lucky for me you love public transport (you reference the HK MTR as the “ding dong” train), but unlucky for me I only had the carrier with me and you’re heavy now. Did I wish I had a buggy? Yes. However, you in a carrier is a lot more mobile.
We were inundated with family while in Xiamen; I don’t expect you to remember any of them because I hardly do myself, but I think it was more for them anyway at this point. Who knows, maybe we’ll go back more often than I expect over the years. You did enjoy your time there although most of the long meals were just you watching Peppa Pig. Of course you liked Xiamen.
We then hit up a few of the HK mainstays like Ocean Park (you liked) and Hong Kong Disney (you didn’t like), as well as meet up with a lot of friends and colleagues along the way. We both got into a little routine and while shuttling you around was tiring, I actually feel quite fond of the entire trip looking back on it. I know you’ll be too young to remember any of it, but a part of me is hoping you’ll remember taking that one trip with dad. Who knows, maybe this will be somewhat of a regular thing.