Let’s not wait another three years before we go away together.
Really. No more excuses. No more guilt. I promise.
We’ve put this off for so long, for so many reasons:
We get such little free time. We should spend vacations as a family. We shouldn’t spend the money. We can’t ask anyone to watch our kids overnight. Maybe next year when the kids are older.
On the heels of our first true parental getaway I’ve realized a couple of things.
I still really like you. Sure, our relationship has evolved over the last 17 years, between jobs and marriage and kids, but I’m proud that we’re growing together. Do we have days where logistics consume us? Of course. We may have perfected the kids’ bedtime routine with minimal depth of conversation and maximum efficiency, but in order to stay a “we” we need more than that. It’s hard to break out of the everyday and push ourselves to do something for us, but it’s essential.
I’ve realized there’s no one else I’d rather eat and drink my way through a new city with. No one else I’d rather share the eye rolls with as we judge fellow travelers who go barefoot on the plane and lack personal space. No one else I’d rather take a historical walking tour in blazing 90 degree heat with. Stay my travel partner for life. Let’s continue to make each other a priority, try new things and create memories.
When it’s just us, you remind me who I am. You encourage me to say yes more. Yes to staying out later than I have in years, drinking beer and singing along to live music with fellow patrons. Yes to trying new things, to making split second decisions about what to do or where to eat and (momentarily) forgetting about life back home. You show me that spontaneity is a good thing, and push me to think bigger without being a slave to “the plans.”
It’s healthy for everyone to have a break. Before we had kids I always thought our “break” would be during the work day. Why would we more need time away? As a somewhat seasoned mom, I now understand we still need a break from relentless, hectic schedules. It isn’t just work— it’s the morning routines, the overflowing inboxes, the errands we squeeze in at the end of the day. It’s okay to recharge. Part of the reason we put off going away is because of the guilt. Our time spent as a family is already limited, how could we rationalize spending more time away? I felt like I was defending our decision before we even finalized our travel plans. But I now see that it’s good for everyone. We had time to reconnect and explore the world without the restrictions of a 5 p.m. dinner bell, strollers, nap schedules and diaper changes.
And with us out of town our children get the gift of quality time with their grandparents. We see family regularly, but living two hours away has its limitations. We tend to cram as much in on our weekend visits as possible, running from house to house, shoveling in rushed meals to make the rounds. Often on our Sunday drives back home I’ll look at you and wryly say, “Hi. How was your weekend?” because we’re so consumed by the non-stop action that we barely talk.
Trying to make the most of our time with family also gives the grandparents the short end of the stick. They only have so much time to spend with the kids and usually it isn’t one on one. I now think it’s a bit of a gift to the grandparents (though, we know they work for it!) for even a couple of days where they can enjoy our kids to themselves.
Now that we’ve done it—the first real mom and dad getaway under our belt—I promise I don’t need any more convincing. I will make you a priority. Make us a priority. Next time we leave you’ll have to race me to the car as I wave goodbye to the kids over my shoulder, barely containing my excitement.
I get it now. They’ll be fine. And you and I will be even better.