Last Tuesday I was walking to the bus stop with my son holding regurgitated pizza in my hand (don’t ask). Butterflies stirring in my stomach. How can I leave these boys? I peered into the beige ball of slobbery dough that was slithering between my fingers – a sight that might have made me gag at one point in my life, but now, I don’t flinch. Heck, I’d probably eat it and you wouldn’t even have to pay me. Who can do this job but me? These boys that I live and breathe, these boys who have never been more than 48 hours away from me for the past 6 years, these boys who have simultaneously enraptured my heart and driven me insane – I need a break. I know that. And in less than 24 hours I would be getting one. I should be happy, right? But not a mom. Totally freaking out. We neared the bus stop and my son tugged my hand and pointed to his mouth. He wanted his pizza back. On point. With one swift hand wipe to my back pocket I was greeted by the neighborhood moms, “Ahhh are you ready for your trip?” “You are so lucky!” “I am so jealous!” “How many nights are you staying for again?” “AHH so nice. You deserve this.”
I deserve this.
Omg. 5 nights without kids. What the heck are we going to do with ourselves?
But the butterflies lingered. It was a mixture of thoughts – do I have everything packed? Is 8 swimsuits enough for 5 days? The grandparents know not to text and drive, right? Is my house clean enough for my mom? Do you think we need to make dinner reservations in advance? Will I be the only person not wearing a cheeky bottom in Miami? Should I buy one? (No, no you should not says the voice in my head). The grandparents know to put sunscreen on the kids right? And to hold the littlest one in any sort of parking lot? And to keep the storm doors locked at all times but to check the shed if the little guy escapes? I wonder if I should bring a floppy hat or fedora? Probably both? Should I ask my parents to water my flowers or is that asking too much? They know not to blink when giving the baby a bath, right? And to always have their body between the kids and the road when playing in the driveway? Maybe I should bring a raincoat? Geez I hope it doesn’t rain. Maybe I should check the weather. No, no don’t jinx anything. Is requesting a minimum of 7 pictures of the kids per day too much? Ugh, the carline procedure is too difficult to explain in writing. Crap. We should have done a dry run. Maxis or minis? God my bag is getting heavy. We are checking right?
Get a grip, lady.
I. Just. Need. To. Get. There……or so I kept telling myself.
After an eyes-brimmed-with-tears goodbye, we were off.
Event after easy-breezy event, it started hitting me….
Damn. Airport lines are easy without kids.
50 foot Starbucks line? I won’t whine if you won’t?
Breakfast at a table for…..2! I don’t care if we are in the middle of the airport – wow. This already feels like vacation and we aren’t even there yet.
Oh, well hello there magazine rack. Remember me? I know. It’s been a while. (Sidenote: Who the heck is Kate Middleton and why is everyone so excited she just had a baby? And Chris Martin is dating that Silver Lining movie actress? What happened to Gwyneth?)
Damn it feels nice getting on an airplane and not having to think about any of this – you know, the ugly stares and then sighs of relief when you and your slew of whining children are sitting next to another lucky passenger.
Do I want a drink? Hell yes.
Two and a half glorious hours later we arrived at our destination. A plane ride that is glorious? Two words I never thought I would say in my post-kids lifetime. I read a magazine front to back, snacked on warmed nuts (I never knew they really existed), had 2 cocktails, counted from 1 to 10 and, nope. Nothing. Nobody needed anything from me. Wow. Vacation without out kids. Where have you been the last seven years of my life?
We were greeted at the hotel with some sort of rose champagne and from there on out I can’t even remember what we did each day – but it was something to the tone of anything-we-wanted-whenever-we-wanted. Something to the tone of coffee (hot, French pressed to be exact) over looking the ocean.
We indulged in leisurely 3-mile runs followed by grandiose brunches fit for a queen (with mimosas, obviously), followed by endless hours of full-service poolside lounging, walks on the beach and reading.
You guys. I read an entire book. I went to the spa. The SPA! ahhh… still dreaming of it. Drank exotic fruit-infused cocktails with cilantro garnishes. Made 9:30 dinner reservations. I mean, whaaaaat? I wore white without worry of chocolate smudges on my shoulders. I ate creme brûlée in the bathtub. CREME BRULEE in the BATHTUB!!!! I mean wasn’t it just two days ago that I was holding regurgitated pizza in my hand? Oh goodness. I really did need this. And as if all this wasn’t enough. I slept. I slept through the night. I’m still fantasizing about that part.
Did I miss my kids?
Well, yes, of course. It felt weird walking without a 29 pound appendage. I felt tinges of sadness in my heart when I saw families with young children at the beach. Mine would love it here. Maybe we should have brought them? Are we being selfish? But the real answer to that is: NO.
There is a time and place for a family trip. When a trip with just you and your husband falls in your lap you need grab the fanciest caftan you can find and book that flight faster than your mind let’s you think “oh, but how could I ever leave my babies behind”. Remember that person you married. My he is cute. Where did all these years go? There comes a time when you need to escape from it all so you can sit back, look each other in the eye without interruption and think, wow – look at all we have done in the past 10 years. Look at this life we have built and the children we have made. We did this together. And we do deserve this time alone. We need the time to look at our life from the outside — and miss it a little.
And just like that 5 nights came and went. Just like that. And just like that I was back in my kitchen plucking smushed blueberries off the floor. But I did it with half a smile – reenergized and relaxed. I know this will fade in time. One more kicking fit on the floor over the no-bats-in-the-house rule and I’m pretty sure I’ll be there. But that vision of a palm trees surrounding a pool, no one can take that away from me.
I am a better mom for this trip. My kids survived (and loved every minute of their time being spoiled by grandparents). And with any stroke of luck, we won’t have to wait seven years to do this again. And so, until next time, Miami, until the-grandparents-have-recovered-from-the-wrath-of-our-three-hooligans, next time.