My husband and I got away last week--overnight. This isn't small potatoes, folks. I can probably tell you (in detail) about each and every night I have ever spent away from my children, because it is rare. Like, invisibility cloak or Holy Grail rare. Something I had all but given up hope for after the third child came along, which is why it's been possibly a decade since we've accomplished this feat.
But we did it.
Well, my mother did it. She survived with the kids.
And I must say it was a learning experience. At first I wasn't sure I could do it, or even that it would actually happen. Someone was sure to get the flu, my mother or one of the kids. There would be a snowstorm, certainly. Fire, flood, famine...I was prepared. But as it was, the planets aligned, the weather cooperated, all remained healthy.
Now, I don't want to seem ungrateful, but at first I felt like it just wasn't enough, that less than 48 hours was not enough time to decompress. Not enough time to shed the 'constant vigilance' attitude that is required of parenting a toddler (+4). I had hoped to sleep well and revel in an afternoon of shopping by myself (while my husband had a meeting), but I just could not shake the feeling that something was missing, that I was neglecting something. It was hard to relax.
We had a great time, don't get me wrong. I picked up a few deals at an Anthropologie store, my hubby and I had a humorous time ordering a dirty martini at a 'real' bar (I didn't care what type of alcohol was in it ;), and ate several very leisurely meals without interruption. It really was very glorious.
But I felt happiest...when we got home. I found such comfort in those small moments, being able to walk down the hall and check on sleeping children, the reassuring sound of laughter, or tiny footsteps, seeing with my own eyes that they got on the bus or ate their dinner. For me, it was less about the getting away and more about the coming home. And I am grateful for all of it.