There are still moments when I look at April or Charlie and think, “I can’t possibly be grown-up enough to have children.” But there they are: two little human beings who started as infinitesimal specks and grew big inside my belly. And it’s because of them that we get to live the life we lead.
Since we’ve been living in Cape Town, I’ve been explaining our situation to a lot of people.
“Are you on holiday?” they ask.
“Sort of. We have really great parental leave in the part of Canada we’re from.”
A slightly bewildered look will furrow the person’s brow.
“We get to share a year’s paid leave when we have a baby. So Josh has taken 19 weeks off. I took the rest.”
“You’re so lucky” is the usual response.
And I do feel lucky. But I think more accurately, I feel fortunate. Yes, we get parental leave, but not many people take off half way across the world with their infants. We decided to have an adventure, a break from the winter and from our Montreal life. We are lucky in that we were born to our parents, got to grow up in Canada and had opportunities and support throughout our lives. Every time I walk down the street here in South Africa, I am reminded of how privileged we are in Canada. Very few people in the world have a safety net like the one Canadians take for granted.
This time is also giving us a chance to decide what we do and don’t want in our lives. Family is very important to us, as are our friends. Enjoying whatever work we choose is also up there. And sunshine. And the sea. So we’ll see. With our priorities in order, hopefully we’ll be able to swing something that maximizes our happiness. For now, I’m just going to enjoy this time with my family.