A week or so ago I was out for a drink with friends at a bar near the office and a couple walked in with their two children – a boy about 4 and a girl about 2. Now to be clear, we were at a bar, not at the bar at a restaurant, an actual bar with pool tables and such. And despite the fact that I’ve now been a parent for nearly three years, but perhaps more so because of it, I found it a little odd for this couple to have their two youngins’ in tow. That said, it quickly became apparent that they desperately needed a drink and that any thoughts about the appropriateness of bringing their children to such an establishment were rendered irrelevant by that need. The kids were loud and climbing on things and the parents were stressed and exasperated and then this happened…the mom was walking past our table with one of the two children at her side and she looked over at us forlornly and said “I wish I was out with the girls. I love my kids, but I just need a break.”
Never in my life have I had a complete stranger be so open about the fact that she just needed to get the fuck away from her children for a bit. It was kind of amazing and definitely surprising. I quickly empathized by saying something like “I totally understand and am going home to my two in a bit!” which made her half smile. Later that night I was scrolling through Instagram and saw a post by my dear coworker (and fellow mom) showing a photo of her and her hubs smiling gleefully with the caption “One week before Beau was born. Looking very innocent and so well rested.” It seriously simulated a scene you’d see in a comedic movie or tv show right before it broke to two weeks later with both parents looking disgusting and haggard, a baby screaming in their arms, and them arguing with each other about something stupid like who got less sleep the night before. It was the kind of post where your initial reaction is to laugh out loud and then as your brain begins to process it you start to think about how exhausted you are from all things parenting and your audible laughter is silenced by your realization that life is officially crazy.
I wonder how many times a week the average parent begins a sentence with “I love my kids, but…” I’d put money on a lot. Because we do love our kids, but we also do need breaks to maintain some semblance of sanity. And it’s so super duper important that those breaks sometimes occur with each other, as in both parents breaking at the same time together, because we all know that one of the greatest challenges of being a parent of young kids is making sure your marriage or relationship isn’t relegated to roommate status for lack of quality togetherness. Which brings me to my whole point for writing this post! SECRET WEEKEND!
For Mother’s Day weekend this year, Pete planned an overnight trip for he and I ONLY and it was all a complete surprise for me. I knew we were going somewhere, I just didn’t know where or how or to do what. I love surprises and getting away and hanging out with Pete, so I was psyched.
He told me we needed to be on the road by 7 AM sharp because we had a couple stops to make on the way and there was a schedule to stick to. I was so intrigued. Off we went down the highway a handful of exits, and then got off! We’re going to Burlington? I thought to myself, losing some of my excitement (sorry Burlington). We pulled up at the Company Shops Station, a large brick building that I was unfamiliar with, and Pete told me something was going on there that morning. What on earth is he dragging me to at 7:15 AM in Burlington? Some kind of flea market? I guess that’s cool? We park the car and he takes out this top secret purple folder with papers in it and we head to the door. Once inside, I very quickly realize that we’re at a train station which is aided by the fact that it’s National Train Day (total coincidence) and there are model trains and train info and all kinds of trainy type things all around. We were headed to Charlotte by Amtrak!
The train ride was super cool and something we’d never done together before. Once in Charlotte, we went to an art museum, had a delicious alfresco lunch, saw a badass show at the theater, went to a couple bars in NoDa, slept fairly well, had a lovely brunch and then took the train back home. Apparently this is what people with no kids, lots of discretionary income and abundant free time do. I like it! But I love my kids! Pete did such an awesome job planning the trip – it was perfect and I love him dearly for being an amazing, thoughtful husband.
That’s it for solo trips for us until the big one in September…SCOTLAND! FUCKYEAH!
Some instas from the secret weekend can be found over at Elderworld (scroll a bit). Buh-bi.