Sunday, August 9, 2009

Where to next?

Now that mommycation is coming to an end and we've already been on a family vacation, I'm ready for my favorite vacation of all -- the couple vacation. I love to go on vacation with just me and my hubby. Granted, it doesn't happen very often, but it's been four years since we went somewhere nice -- an Alaskan cruise -- and we are ready to go again. We love our children dearly, but we also love each other and like to spend time together with just the two of us. I personally believe one of the best gifts you can give your child is a strong relationship with their father (or mother if you happen to be a father reading this blog). And where better to make your relationship stronger than on a fabulous vacation!

I was talking to an older woman I know at a meeting the other night. She became a mother later in life (at least later than the majority of us do) and her only child is getting ready to head off to college. I asked how she was feeling about him leaving in a few weeks, and she said she and her husband were thinking of moving to the college town for the next four years to be with their son. Dear reader, I am ashamed to say I have an extremely poor poker face. I'm sure the shock and awe of her statement registered on my face. I practically shouted "Oh no, you don't want to do that do you?" and then realizing that might sound rude, I mumbled something about college being a time for children to spread their wings and find their place in the world, or something else straight out of a Hallmark card.

But then she something even more shocking than her previous statement. She said that her son wanted them to move and that since his birth they had never been anywhere without him. *What!?! Come again? What was that last thing you just said? I'm sorry it sounded like you said YOU HAD NEVER BEEN ANYWHERE IN 18 YEARS WITHOUT YOUR SON. I'm sure that's not what you said, right? Because that would be just crazy, right? Because I know that if I had never been anywhere with my husband alone in 18 years I would be certifiable. You're kidding, right? You're just trying to make me feel bad, aren't you? You big kidder you. Right? No? Okay.*

I admit I am often struck dumb -- not mute, just dumb -- when others' life choices are so completely different than mine. Instead of saying something noncommittal or smiling and taking a swig of my iced tea, I instead say something that could be considered offensive. In my defense, I don't think it is a judgement on my part, I just think it's that I can't wrap my brain around certain things. So, I begin to ask questions. Lots of questions. Questions that I am sure imply that I think the person is crazy. I don't necessarily think they are crazy, I just can't understand why on earth they would make that choice. Alright, now it's sounding more and more like I'm being judgemental. I can live with that, because some choices are just crazy , and I shouldn't be expected to act like they aren't, right? Okay, I know I should reserve judgement and learn to keep my opinions to myself, but it's been 36 years and there is no sign of that particular personality trait letting up.

So I say to her, "Really? Never? You've never gone anywhere without him." And she said, "No, it was just too much fun to have him with us, so we never wanted to go anywhere without him." Well, that's kind of nice. I guess. Totally unrealistic in my house, but sweet nonetheless, right? Okay, maybe not. Is he going to be able to function on his own in college? Does he know how to make his own decisions? Is he going to move in with you when he gets married and just bring his wife and family on in? At this point my mind is just reeling!

I'm reminded of another woman who I overheard talking with my friend. When my friend asked her to a movie the following week, she said she probably wouldn't be able to go because, "my family kind of breathes in and out together." I'm pretty sure my eyes bugged out of my head, and I immediately felt short of breath.

I've said it before, and I will say it again, "I love my children!" I would take a bullet for my children or jump in front of a speeding car for them. But for the love of all that is good in this world, I need a break from them to be by myself. And, I need a break from them to be with my husband. Both of these women were much older than I was when they had children. Maybe I would feel differently if I'd had this grand life before having kids. I don't know. But I do know that I am a much better mother when I am away from my children for a few days and I'm allowed to miss them. And I do know I am a much better wife when I am allowed to enjoy my husband's company for a few days without little people interrupting. Where do I think we'll go? Who knows. I've been begging to go to Charleston and/or Savannah for the past 13years since we got married, but it's never happened. And frankly, I don't expect it to any time soon. At this point I would settle for a B&B on Monteagle. I'm sure we'll only be able to sneak away for a few days, but wherever we go, it will be wonderful.

But right now, I'm going to go meet my kids. They've been gone for four days and I'm so ready to see them I'm going to meet my husband on his way home with them at Khol's to go shoe shopping. And to fully understand that statement, you'll have to read my last post.

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