… really does make the heart a little fonder. Or, maybe it just gives you a little rest so you can remember how fond it always was.
M and I just returned from our first weekend away from the kids. My sister-in-law had been volunteering, practically since they were born, to watch them so that we could get away. For the longest time, I wasn’t ready. Well, now that they’re a whopping 11 months old, I was ready. Schedules were coordinated, ideas were tossed about. And on Tuesday night, we decided that we’d hop on a train on Friday evening to NYC.
My trusted and beloved sister-in-law did request instructions in writing. While she spends a fair amount of time with my kids and knows them pretty well, she does not exactly know every little detail of schedules, meals, and naps. Of course, even if she hadn’t requested it, I probably would have done it anyways. But that’s me. So when we met on Friday afternoon for the baby/mini-van transfer, I handed her no less than a 7-page packet. The first page and a half was an outline of their normal day, the basic “what to do, when.” Followed by a page of random notes on foods they do and do not eat, how to deal with naps, and possible activities. Then, a page of emergency info, including phone numbers for the pediatrician and nearby twin moms (thanks, fellow HDYDI mom Rebecca, I’m glad she didn’t have to call you!). After that was several pages of maps: how to get to the pond for a walk, the grocery store, Target, the hospital… you know, the important places.
The handoff was a little hard (for us, the kids didn’t notice), but the next thing we knew, it was just us! One small rolling bag between the two of us, no strollers, no carseats. It was just so… easy. The four-hour train ride passed quickly, as there were no squirmy babies to entertain. Just me and a book. The next morning, though I initially woke up at 6:45, I stayed in bed until 11AM. Eleven. Can you believe it? Just dozing, reading, hanging out. Lunch with friends (no, we didn’t match on purpose), a matinee of Avenue Q. Back to the hotel for a nap and more reading, late sushi dinner with more friends, followed by drinks and dessert. We didn’t get back until midnight, which is early by NYC standards, but outrageously late for me.
We didn’t do anything silly like swear we wouldn’t talk about the kids. Of course we talked about the kids, thought about them, missed them, and laughed about the silly things they do. But what we did not talk about was laundry, cleaning high chairs, dirty diapers, or enforcing nap times. Ahhh…
We checked in a few times with my sister-in-law and her boyfriend, and everything was going great. The kids were napping like they were supposed to, everything was fine. And since they don’t do this every day, the adults actually had the energy to just play the day away with the kids. They probably think I’m pretty boring, now.
More than anything, I think this trip was good for me as an individual, and good for M and me in terms of our marriage. Not that we were seriously on the rocks before our trip, but it was so refreshing to actually be hanging out together, not exhausted, not stressed, not trying to say it’s the other one’s turn to change the stinky diaper. We were able to decompress and talk/laugh about some of the things we do on a daily basis but never discuss. We were able to just sleep or read quietly. We didn’t have one ear twisted toward the monitor, wondering which baby would wake up first. It really did help us to feel more like a pair, and less like co-workers.
And, less than 48 hours later, we were back. We marveled at the ways they seemingly changed while we were gone (more teeth, more attempts to stand, more “talking”), we hugged and kissed and tossed them into a pile of pillows and got to hear them laugh. It was great. This morning, they still woke me up before 6AM, they still got crabby when they both wanted the same toy (or when they both wanted the dog’s toy). I’m already tired again, and there’s already a long list of errands and phone calls. But I’m glad I left, and I’m glad to be home again.
To all those who haven’t yet done this: DO IT! Find a trusted couple of friends or family members, give them the great long list of schedules and emergency numbers, and then leave. Even just for a quick weekend getaway. The kids will be fine, even if they go to bed later than usual, skip a nap, or eat marshmallows for lunch. And you’ll be even better, because you came up for air.