Tonight I feel a bit lonely.
For the first time in many months of travelling with children, my kids aren’t sharing my room. In a bid to combat the travel weariness we’re all feeling, we have decided that it might do us good to stay still for more than 3 days at a time, so on arriving here in Hoi An, we have booked into a “bungalow”* for a whole week.
It seems huge. Me and Janet have our own bedroom. Our girls have their own bedroom. And what’s more, there’s not just a separate living room but a separate kitchenette, too! All very exciting.
Except I miss the snuffles and shuffles of my little girls moving around in their sleep. I won’t know if they wake up in the night. And when I wake up first tomorrow – as I usually do – I won’t be witness to them coming to.
Personal space is something I always felt I needed, but its necessity has faded somewhat in nine months of being squashed together with Janet and my kids in a variety of small hotel rooms. And all the tiny, single-room houses we’ve seen, sometimes with whole families sleeping in one bed or just on floor mats, I guess have normalized the experience.
So, while it’s nice to have some space, to be able to stretch out and not tip-toe around after bedtime… the thought of going home to a whole big house seems perturbing. What will we do with all that space? Will we drift apart?
It’ll seem lonely without occasionally hearing Evie fall out of bed, Jemima start sucking her thumb or Scarlett wriggling around as she struggles to drop off to sleep.
It’s undoubtedly trying to all squeeze in together – just the thought of all the evening spent reading my kindle in the dark while shushing overtired children in the next bed or sorting out the umpteenth argument over who’s elbow touched who’s bottom makes me feel awash with frustration. But it does have its compensations. I really appreciate our current closeness. And I’ll miss it when it’s gone.
PS. The title is a reference to The Croods, where the whole family sleep in a big pile in their cave. Not something I have much trouble relating to, having spent much of the last eight years covered in triplets.
* The term Bungalow is used very loosely by our hotel – we are on the ground floor of a three floor building.