Memories of Montreal

It feels like yesterday I was getting ready and packing for my first trip in 4 years….alone. Yes, you read this correctly.  Alone.  Alone meaning  sans husband, sans kids.  I went to Montreal for my best friend’s bachelorette.  Looking back, the timing couldn’t have been better as we were in the midst of moving and I desperately just needed a break from the demands of being wife, employee, mother, planner, referee, cook, nurse, janitor, artist and so on.

I remember the excitement of going to the airport.  Yes, the airport.  For the first time in years, I got to sit and enjoy a cappuccino uninterrupted and to make it even sweeter it was free (I flew out of Billy Bishop airport).  I felt like I was 25 again and jet setting as I once used to.  It was exciting yet at the same time I couldn’t help but feel so guilty.  Was it wrong to feel solace knowing I wouldn’t have someone crying or whining towards me? I knew my husband would have a hard time with the kids, especially my oldest who is quite spirited.  But, I also told myself, he can survive.  If I do everyday, so can he for one weekend.

high rise buildings
Photo by Nancy Bourque on

This particular weekend was absolutely beautiful.  It was Canada Day weekend, World Cup excitement was in the air and I was going to be with my best friends.  I remember arriving to our air b&b situated in the trendy Plateau area of Montreal.  Our apartment felt quite Parisian with a bit of Montreal flair.   We had a lovely balcony that overlooked the street.  Everyone was excited to party but I was mostly excited to sleep uninterrupted!

Going out, I had mixed feelings,  I felt as if I could go out like nothing has changed from before.  But at the same time, I felt a little out of place, as if everything about me was screaming “mom.”  Over the course of the weekend,  I found that I just kept talking about my kids, over and over again and that I missed them too much.  I had to mentally remind myself that this was my break from everything and to just relax and let loose.  But it was hard to not feel that way.  On the other token, I got to do something that I haven’t done in years and that was having some serious girl time:  shopping and dining out!  I will proudly admit that I did have that mimosa for breakfast along with my omelette, and it was pretty damn good.

My highlight that weekend was of course watching the Croatia versus Russia game.  We walked around the streets of Montreal with our Croatian jerseys on.  The six of us went into a pub, sat and cheered our Vatreni on over some sparkling wine.  Croatia dominated the game and won in overtime.  People from all over came up to us, cheered with us and even gave us hugs and congratulated us for our win.  Montrealers were definitely feeling World Cup fever and relished that moment with us.

Old Montreal is my favourite part of the city and we couldn’t have ended the weekend on a better note than enjoying brunch at Terrasse Nelligan, overlooking the St. Lawrence River.  For a moment in time, I felt like I was somewhere in Europe again, the sun shining, while we indulged in crepes and omelettes. For the first time in a while, I felt more like me.  At this moment, I came to the realization that I really did need this weekend and that my husband needed this time to be alone with the boys.  Towards the end, I was able to let go any sense of “guilt” for not being there or for being “selfish” to having two days of my own.  In motherhood, sometimes we get lost on striving to be the perfect mom, trying to be perfect for our kids and our spouses and so on.  Its kind of like being lost in translation.

Although I went to celebrate my best friend’s bachelorette, this weekend gave me the greatest gift of all:  it gave me an opportunity to feel more like the old Natalie again….but not the old one, rather just a small reminder of the Natalie that was always there.

Our view of the St. Lawrence River…photo cred moi

Perhaps its time to plan another girls weekend getaway….

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