My oldest friend in the world got married to his soul mate this past weekend. The date fell on my husband's birthday, the 9 year anniversary of the day my husband and I met, and the groom had a poetic reason for choosing this date as well, yet I say all of this to say, that I had a kid free weekend.
Since the wedding was out of town, we opted to leave the kiddos with the grandparents. As I packed two nights before we were scheduled to leave, I felt a pit of sadness form in my stomach. I was going to be leaving my children behind, for three days and two nights. How would I bear it? This wasn't the first time my kids have spent the weekend away form my husband and I but it was the farthest away that they had ever been from me. I was going to be in another state! What if something happened? What if they couldn't fall asleep without me? What if they had an allergic reaction? What if they acted like the pets in Homeward Bound and went searching for us? What if...
Yet as we made the drive up to my parents house and then the subsequent drive out of state, with the boys no longer in tow, I felt okay. My anxiety had left me, and it wasn't because of anything I did, but because of my boy's reaction. They were so mellow, and comfortable with the fact that they would get to be spoiled by their grandparents for a weekend without their parents. Their stress-free reaction allowed me to embrace the weekend and boy what a fun weekend it was.
When you have kids, the ending of a vacation is like a crash landing; crushingly abrupt and no one can ever be truly prepared for it.
The cacophony of sounds that constantly play in the background during every hour spent with my beautiful boys were not missed. In fact after retrieving our children the first day back with them was a palpable reminder of how life before kids and life with kids is stark contrast. The first morning getting ready with my little ones, showed me know when we were on vacation I was able to eat, shower, get dressed and be out the door in 20 minutes was no longer possible when I have two kids. Back home, as I tried to get ready to show a house, my two year old informed me that he had pooped, my four year old needed a granola bar, and he had just ordered Big Hero 6 on pay-per-view (in his defense DirecTV does make it too easy for someone who cannot read to order movies). After calling DirecTV to remove the charge on our account, changing a poop diaper, and making something for all of us to eat, (because your kid's hunger will always inevitably rub off on you as the parent) I end up leaving ten minutes late with half of my hair curled-when I had triple the amount of time to get ready than I did on vacation.
The ever present hunger that accompanies small children, the incessant mood swings (that are just their personality at this age), the messy house, endless laundry, is all part of the beautiful package of having children and while I love it, I have vowed that regular vacations are necessary.
I don't even care where we go, just as long as we go somewhere. I think it's best for everyone involved. Grandparents get to see their grand kids. The parents get to remember what the other one looks like, without exhaustion blurring their face. The kids get to enjoy life without their parental units, ,really it's a human service. With Spring Break coming up I hope everyone has already booked a room, even if it is just down street :)