G and I dropped off K-Man at her parents' house at 5:30 PM on Saturday night and picked him up at 12:30 on Sunday afternoon. We were gone for 19 hours. And it felt like a lifetime.
• We went to a great dinner at a place we’ve been dying to try.
• We drank some good wine.
• We went to a friend’s 40th b’day party (QUITE different from mine).
• We stayed in San Francisco for the night.
• We went out to brunch on Sunday morning.
Nineteen hours and we packed in a weeklong vacation’s worth of relaxation, communication, connection and commitment. As we were heading to our car to go pick up K-Man, I told G that, “It’s good to be married again!” We laughed, but what I meant was that once we become “mom and dad” it’s so easy to forget that we were first, husband and wife. Nineteen hours was all we needed to remind us of…ourselves.
G and I are consistent with our date nights. We go out every Thursday night. These aren’t extravagant evenings – just some dinner, or a movie – and we’re home by 9:00. But date night is more about a break from the week together than it is a real bonding experience. It’s about catching up on all the things that we’d forgotten to talk about during our hectic weeks. It’s often about just looking at each other across a table and laughing about how tired we feel. Or, more truthfully, it’s a chance to [filtered word] about any number of things – mostly related to work.
These 19 hours were far different. They were a flashback to an old life – a life that was more carefree, void of “real” responsibility, or a constant battle against the clock (meals, naps, school, baths, etc.). It’s been so long since we were both together and away from the kid for more than just a few hours. These 19 hours were seriously the best 19 hours we’ve had together in a long time. (And, since most of our vacations are now spent in rented houses – with the kid – neither of us could even remember the last time we stayed in a hotel together.)
After dinner, we went to a friend’s 40th b’day party. This friend and his wife don’t have kids yet, which was perhaps made more obvious by the fact that the party had a “soft start” at 9:00 PM, and was expected to go until 4:30 in the morning. Someday soon, my friend will someday learn that 4:30 in the morning is a time for feedings – no longer the time a party ends.
G and I got there around 9:00. While there were a few other people there – all of the earlybirds had kids. Yes, all of the married, old parents, who, at one time would have stayed up until 4:30 am, were now getting to the party right when it started. As I was talking to the host, he was telling a story about how now that he’s “getting older,” he likes to go to bed early, “Like around 10:30 or 11:00.” I’m thinking to myself, “Geezus, 10:30? I haven’t stayed up that late in…who can remember?”
Around 10:15 I told G that I wanted to leave. “We have a hotel room,” I told her. While some might think what I meant was, “Let’s go knock it out like porn stars.” What I really meant was, “If we go to sleep by 11:00, we can sleep for 12 or 13 hours before we have to check out.” Why waste the opportunity to sleep – and I mean, REALLY SLEEP – simply to hang out at a party for a few hours longer? We compromised and left the party a bit over an hour later – and were both asleep by 11:45. (I should note, however, that when we woke up (at 10:00!), G said, “Thank you for making us leave…I needed that sleep.” This is what I’m saying.)
As we were having breakfast, we decided we were even ready to become “mom and dad” again. Getting away made us miss the little monster (of course). And, while we probably could have stomached another 19 hours (or even a few more), but we were ready to take on the challenges that come with the testing tantrums of a two-and-a-half year old (and they were, indeed, waiting for us).
The moral of the story, though? G-d bless Priceline.com. $90 for a four-star hotel in downtown San Francisco. No, that’s not it. The moral of the story is that regardless of how great we are as parents – as mom and dad – there are times when it’s just CRUCIAL to get away. We’ll be better parents because of those 19 glorious hours.