By the time you are reading this, my husband and I are on our way to our five-year anniversary trip to Seattle and Portland. These two cities have long been on our “must-see” list. I have been to California several times but never further north than San Francisco. My husband has been as far west as Colorado. Having had children in our lives since the day we got married, my stepchildren were almost 7 at the time, we really wanted to make a five-year, adults-only vacation happen for ourselves. So, after cobbling together some savings and using up many years of credit card travel points, we were able to make this trip a reality without going overboard on cost.
When we booked our vacation back in the spring, the thought of going away for eight days was thrilling. No 5:30am wake ups from our toddler! No having to go out to eat at places with a children’s menu! We can stay out as late as we want without worrying about meltdowns, baths and bedtime routines! Now that the time has come to leave, the reality of being without my daughter is hitting me. We have been separated from the older kids for this long before (our honeymoon, vacations with their mom) but I haven’t spent more than two nights away from our daughter since she was born almost 22 months ago. I know a few other moms who wouldn’t, or couldn’t, be separated from their young child this long. Am I a horrible mother for doing this?
My husband and I both believe that spending time as a couple, away from our roles as “mom” and “dad”, are important to a healthy marriage. To that end, we have made it a point to schedule date nights monthly or bi-monthly since our daughter was born. We also have the benefit of family that live close by who can, and eagerly offer to, babysit free of charge. But this trip will provide a whole week for us to connect as husband and wife, and to do things that interest us now that our daily lives revolve kid-friendly activities.
It will be interesting to see what a week alone looks like at this stage in our relationship. We are already joking about how we will probably spend most of our time talking about the kids or looking at pictures of them. The worrier in me hopes that we will have enough “adult” topics to discuss and not turn to kid chat as a default. I think back to our honeymoon five years ago when we spent ten days in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Yes, we talked about the older kids and my husband called in to check in on them a few times, but we didn’t let it stop us from enjoying our vacation and focusing on the two of us. I am hopeful that we will be able to do the same this time around.
Pre-vacation prep is very different though when leaving a toddler behind. Instead of planning what to pack for myself, I have been making a list of items to bring to my parents’ house for my daughter, writing up directions for packing the daycare bag, and providing information about doctors, insurance plans and Tylenol dosing instructions.
When I ask my daughter where she is going when Mommy and Daddy go up in the plane she says with a smile, “Nana and Papa’s!” I know she will be fine and have a blast being spoiled by them for a week. I only hope she welcomes me back with open arms instead of “where the hell have you been?!” She seems to grow in leaps and bounds daily; I hope we don’t feel like we have missed out on too much while we are gone.
I love my husband very much and am so proud of all that we have accomplished and endured over the first five years of marriage. This trip is a celebration of us and a time to “tap out” of the normal routine for a little bit. And I do have to say, I am very excited to wear my tiny, cross-body purse for a whole week, without a sippy cup, diaper or squeeze pouch in sight!