Back in mid-January, The Captain and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. How’d that happen?? It’s hard to imagine yourself having been married for 14 years when internally, you still feel like you’re about 22. But 14 years and a bajillion kids later, we’re still cute.
The Captain & SixPack, circa 2000. Outside of the 10 year statute of limitations, so The Captain can still remain anonymous. Not that he looks super-old now or anything. Because he looks fine, but different from here. That sounds worse, doesn’t it? Like I’m digging a bigger hole for myself? Oh… never mind.)
Now despite the crushing busyness of our day to day lives, one tradition that The Captain and I have maintained is the practice of going on an anniversary overnight. This was suggested by our pre-marital counseling pastor; I have to tell you, it’s about the best advice we’ve ever been given as a married couple.
So each year, we’ve made a point to get away, even if within an hour’s drive from home. It’s something to look forward to, especially because it comes in January- a cold, barren stretch of time when Christmas joy is a distant memory, the air is frigid, and The Captain’s workload increases dramatically. Which all translates to: SixPack becomes internally desperate, exhausted and overwhelmed. And needs a BREAK.
This was no problem at all when we had one child. With your first, EVERYONE wants a piece of the babysitting action. They’d scramble over each other to be the first to hold and snuggle a sweet, tiny lil’ baby girl.
Then came #2. Oh, two sweet lil’ baby girls? Well, sure. I mean, a little more challenging, because they are, after all, just a year apart, so almost like twins. But no biggie.
Then came #3. Hmmm…. well, people would babysit, BUT- with the anxious, “What time will you be back??” question prior to our departure.
Then came #4. She scared the crap out of everybody.
And then #5. Our once endless reserve of babysitting resources began dwindling. In desperation, we began implementing the divide & conquer idea, sprinkling the children randomly amongst our willing (albeit naïve) relatives.
Now to the present…
Six. SIX. Planning a weekend away while coordinating babysitting for six kids is kind of like, oh, I dunno…. this?
(Disclaimer: This is not me; it’s just a visual. Because if it WERE me, I wouldn’t be able to slow down enough for you to capture it.)
It’s tough to pack and disperse six little people in order to leave town. Numbers 1-4 were hustled off to the in-laws, while #s 5 and 6 were to remain at our house with Grandma and good ole’ Aunt Chell. Remember her? Oh, she may have moved out of state, but my fantastic big-sistering* (*sheer desperation*) is enough to draw her back in to help.
The hours prior to our departure resemble something like this (minus the gift of flight):
So, once a year. ONCE A YEAR. For 48 hours, The Captain and I are set loose on the town, free to run wild and crazy, & to be giddy and irresponsible.
While we technically could do those things, we just…. don’t. Because we’re TIRED. So for two overworked, overtired very busy people with many, many children, the best kind of weekend getaway is one that involves-
Our home for 48 hours. Quiet. Clean. Kidless.
We sit. We nap. A lot. We eat. A lot. We watch a lot of movies. We read. A lot. (well, I do). We drink coffee. Vats of it. And not cheap, hotel-room coffee, but Starbucks. Because we can.
Did I mention the Jacuzzi?
The Captain will take a brief dip, but I park myself in the Jacuzzi and pretty much devolve into a limp, blissfully over-soaked jellyfish. I just soak my aching bones, and:
watch TV, drink coffee, read, polish my nails, and just.sit.still. For hours.
Me. (sigh. giggle.)
And no one tells me to get out of the tub, because they need to pee. No one shouts through the door that they can’t pry the remote batteries out with a butter knife, or that their younger sister tried to throw the cat down the stairs.
Because there is NO door. And there are NO kids there.
And for 48 hours, we enjoy the slow pace. We savor the silence. We sleep late. We bond. We laugh. We talk. We catch up on months’ worth of conversation- silly, goofy things, and the deep, heartfelt things. And not only do we have the energy to talk, but we also have the energy to listen.
-To hear what the other is saying.
And we are able to take a breath, to linger over a great meal without interruption or tiny fingers jabbing onto our plates, and neither of us ever spills our drinks. (though a waiter did spill a Coke into The Captain’s lap, but he wasn’t our kid, so doesn’t count)
We leave the hotel recharged, relaxed, and ready to face the homefront. Until we are briefed by our babysitters. Who tell us:
#4 was sick. She complained of stomach pain, so the in-laws, out of practice with sick youngsters, invited her cuddle in their bed. Which she promptly soiled with her copious vomit. Twice.
#1 was sick. I’ve told you how #1 deals with being sick, so there was much sniffling and sobbing to face.
And back at the ranch:
#6 was sick. His diapers apparently made both of his caregivers gag from the stench.
#5 was sick. She loves to emulate her big sister, and did so by throwing up, in OUR bed. Twice.
- #2: “Oh, remember that huge project I have? The one where I have to gather natural outdoor supplies and spend countless hours gluing tiny sticks to other tiny sticks? Well that’s due tomorrow.”
- #3: “I feel fine. But I think my project’s due this week, too… the one that I don’t know anything about because I f’got to ask like you told me. Sorry, Mom.”
And the babysitters fly off couches, jamming feet in shoes and picking up overnight bags, murmuring phrases like, “must…take…nap..” “good luck…” “it was… ALL…OVER…”
So we come home to this, and the realization sinks in somewhat like this:
And within 45 minutes or so, we’ve plummeted back to reality and are besieged with hugs, love, and demands. It can be a tough transition, to say the least.
But it’s OUR chaos; a busy but precious life that we’ve created, together. And after 14 years of marriage & an amazing 48 hours of alone time, it always reminds me that there’s no one I’d rather be in the trenches with than The Captain.
But I would like to upgrade our bathroom tub for a Jacuzzi; maybe for our 15th?? Just saying…
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