As parents, many times we put our lives on hold to make sure our children have everything they need. They always are fed first or clothed first. Their needs always are met before anyone else’s.
But sometimes, we have to do things for ourselves.
In the spirit of that, my husband and I took a trip — a no-kids, only-have-to-worry-about what-we-want, no-complaining-allowed trip. And it was glorious.
We have been married for 10 years this past April — a long time, right? And in that entire time, we’ve never had a trip together that lasted longer than a day or two. We actually never had a honeymoon because of work commitments.
So we were long overdue. I actually wasn’t convinced we’d really get to go until we were more than half way to our destination. I am an optimist at heart, obviously.
But go we did. We went to Savannah, then Tybee Island in Georgia. It was hot and muggy and gorgeous and fantastic. We had actual conversations that weren’t interrupted by arguing children in need of a referee. We ate in restaurants without having to make sure there was a kids’ menu, because heaven forbid they eat something other than a burger or chicken nuggets.
We drank grown-up drinks at 3 in the afternoon.
We were together. Just us.
I took three midday naps.
I remembered what it was like to spend days with just my husband and we were able to be us again, not Mama and Daddy.
I walked miles each day without listening to one person with tiny legs complain about their feet.
I didn’t have to brush anyone’s hair but mine, or help anyone dress, or argue about the importance of clean underwear.
I didn’t have to follow a tiny tyrant’s schedule that includes more than frequent bathroom breaks.
I didn’t get to show the kids the ocean or force them to try new foods under threat of lost screen time. I didn’t get to swim with them or people watch with them or stay in a hotel with them, which obviously is the best part of any trip away from home.
I didn’t get to stay up too late with them, watching a movie they probably shouldn’t be watching or share the history of a gorgeous old town.
I think it’s good for our kids to see us as separate from them, not just Mama and Daddy, or “The Ones Who Make Us Do Things We Don’t Want To Do.”
They need to see us as who we are as individuals, who we were before them. But it’s hard when you can’t quite remember who that is. Taking a few days to just be me, to just be us, let me have a bit of that back. And I was able to see how different of a person I am now, eight years later.
And maybe it let my kids miss me a bit and appreciate me just a little bit more.
*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on June 22, 2016.