Absence

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Categories Family, Infants, Relationships, Travel

… 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.

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9 thoughts on “Absence”

  1. I’m glad you had a good time! 😉 Hubby and I just babysat for my nephews this weekend (Sat night and Sun morning) and it was definitely hard work! The one year old did not get his usual naps in during the day (he was with my mom), so that threw his whole day (and temperament) off.

    I don’t know how you MoMs do it!
    :) Becky
    http://www.stinkylemsky.typepad.com/

  2. That is SOO awesome! One day we’ll do it…i know we will! But we just don’t have one friend of family member that is willing to watch our brood. Sad, but true. My MIL would love to…but they live far away and only are able to see the kidos a few times a year. I really believe we NEED a day or two away..BAD. BUT, i know this is the life i chose and since my parents are not willing to help out and my one sister i’m close to, is afraid of 4 kids in her house..we’re STUCK! It really hurts my feelings…makes me cry some days, knowing that my parents are ten minutes away and never willing to help. They didn’t even offer to come over when i had to take my little one to the hospital(I called my mom on the way to tell her, she’ said “well why isn’t P with you?” I said “well we have the other two who i don’t want to take to the hospital too” she said “well, we’re going to church, so i’ll pray for you”! WHAT???? OMG, amazing!!! It was so sad, i just had to laugh or i’d end up tearing into her like never before!

    Anyway, that is so nice that ya’ll were able to get out. I think we may do seperate trips(just so we both can get away for a day or two) and i go to a spa with a fellow mommie or something. I do think it’d be refreshing since i haven’t been away from my children since the girls were born and before that we only left Hannah ONE night when she was 4 months old…with my other sister who does not have kids and her hubby doesn’t like them very much.

    You look so happy in the pic..what a great weekend! Congrats…hope you get to do it again sometime. For now, we’ll have to settle for our date nights with one of our favorite babysitters!

  3. I’d love to see a few pages of that monster list – especially the schedule. I guess I’m a sucker for horror reading and scaring myself before I’ve had the tykes.

  4. Vacations from the kids are the best! I’ve done three overnights away, starting when the kids were about 12 months. We always have a great time—-and the kids enjoy their weekend with Grandma.

  5. The best part about the list/schedule is that it’s so much easier than it was a few months ago. 😉 At least now it actually CAN be written down! It’s a reasonably predictable age, nap strikes and such aside. I found that they were tricky enough at 4-6 months that I wasn’t comfortable leaving them with others for long. But now, it’s pretty easy to describe what to do.

    I uploaded it here, and it’s exactly as I gave it to my SIL, with only one or two identifying details x-ed out. The rest of the “packet” was things like my pediatrician’s phone number and directions to the hospital.

  6. First off, thanks for answering my question about the matching outfits. :)

    So glad to hear that you guys had a good time! I remember my first business trip in May since having the boys and boarding the plane without a million carry-ons (I just had my laptop and book!) was crazy! It was almost hard t o digest that it was ‘just’ me…and I wasn’t responsible for sippy cups, dropped snacks, etc.

    Like you, I was only away for a few days, but it seemed my kids had grown, they were stronger and had more teeth! :)

    Yay for you and M!!

  7. Hey, thanks for the instruction packet! Mine are 11 months and we’re leaving them with the grandparents for the weekend in 2 weeks (for the first time). My mom is already e-mailing me to make sure I have instructions written and medical release forms filled out. Your schedule is almost identical to ours, so this gives me a head start! haha Plus, it gave me some additional meal ideas.

    Some of the stuff made me laugh because it was exactly what I would’ve written….like filling up the pool earlier in the day. Just small things you learn from experience. :-)

  8. We’ve done a few of these trips and I wholeheartedly agree that they’re essential. We reconnected as a couple and did some very leisurely grown-up things. I agree that it’s impossible not to talk about the kids, even though we told ourselves we wouldn’t. They are a part of your lives.

    Glad you had such a good time!

  9. Good for you, Goddess! Glad things went well for both you and the babies. It is good for everyone to have a little time apart.

    How funny, this weekend was my first afternoon and evening away from my twins. The wedding I went to was horrible, and I hated to run to the car and pump a million times, but I had fun in the end and only called home twice. But I’m glad I did, it was a good mental break. Sunday reunited was a blast!

    Hope you find someone to help, twinmom122606!

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