You know that feeling of total fulfillment, restfulness and overwhelming joy you have when you return from an overseas, sightseeing vacation with your children? ...Yeah...me either.
Which is exactly why my Hubs and I decided to take our latest vacay, sans kiddos. But don’t get it twisted. The decision to leave the teens behind and go gallivanting through the European countryside was not one we took lightly...and apparently, neither did the throng of critics who felt compelled to explain to us all the dangers, trauma and loss of culture we would be inflicting upon our fledglings by selfishly keeping this “bonding time” and “life experience” from them.
Our truth is, we as their parents already knew better because we have been vacationing with our spawn since birth, therefore we realize that they would be no more inspired or excited by La Sagrada De Familia in Barcelona than they would the Windmill at the Family mini golf course in Wildwood NJ. - In fact, they would enjoy the golfing much, much more. So in spite of the stellar advice we received from our well intentioned (yet obnoxiously opinionated) friends, we promised the kiddos a trip to the beach in June, and went about preparing for our escape from parenting with happy hearts and clear consciences.
That was, until my darling husband asked me if I had left info for our family about our finances and wills - which is exactly when the guilt and panic began to set in…
Like the “Holy sh*t! Who will know that my youngest needs to have his back scratched to wake up in the morning, and will only do his homework while watching Jim Gaffigan videos!? Or that my oldest still likes My little pony and gets a headache from flavored water?!” kind of panic.
I couldn't LEAVE! They still NEED me! Thank goodness their father is not nearly as pathetic as I am, and he convinced me that we would be fine...and he would rufi me if necessary to get me on the plane. Which, I don’t think he did...I’m pretty sure that was just jet lag. So I stayed the course, and we made it to “departure”.
The first lesson I learned from this trip is: If you’ve ever been unsure about leaving your children to vacation with your spouse, all you need to do is leave...seriously...just go. Like ripping off a band-aid...Just Do it! Make it so! Enlist the support of the people you trust to care for your kiddos and then GO! Will you cry when you leave? Maybe! Will you miss them? Probably ! Will they miss you? Sure. Why not?
Will it be worth it?
Every morning when I woke up to the sun through my hotel window and the smell of coffee instead of the blaring of an alarm and the sound of screaming kids...I felt guilty. Everytime I saw an amazing view off a mountaintop or a family picnicking in a Plaza...I missed them. Everytime we tried a new desert or walked into a foreign candy store...We wished they were there. And it was all OK!
Because walking for miles through museums and cathedrals reminded us of how much they’d be whining or begging for their video games and pissing us off. Staying out late, eating dinner after bedtime and hitting the local pubs took us back to our “pre-kid” days when we hadn’t a care in the world. And having an orgasm without covering my mouth for the first time since I became a mom rekindled that hot romance that got me knocked up in the first place!
As a parent, I can tell you that spending that time as a couple, instead of a chaperone, your heart will grow, your mojo will return and your pitcher will be filled to the tippy tippy top. And when you get home (and you WILL get home) your children will be happy to see you because they will have missed you too! Then you will have wonderful opportunities to share pictures to show them all the stuff they would have hated and shower them with presents from all the cool places they would have loved. Then, hopefully, they will spend hours telling you all about the adventures they had while you were away and how much they missed you, and in my experience, that is more amazing and “bonding” than anything that would have happened had you dragged them along with you!
Of course, the day after we got home, it was back to the alarm clock and the back scratching and the Jim Gaffigan videos, the screaming and the average dinners at normal times, without wine...but because we took the time to fill our pitcher, we will handle it all with a bit more patience and appreciation for each other...and inevitably, The Hubs and I will share a few more winks across the table - over the juice boxes and mac-n-cheese- as reminder that we’re keepin’ it hot, even if we do have to cover our mouth…:)