We’re preparing for a weekend away in this house—a weekend without the kids. I’m really excited about it. And also anxious, apparently: I spent last night having nightmares about all the things that might happen to my children while both of us are gone. The last one involved Nazis, so that at least helped me recognize the irrationality of my worries.
As you might imagine, it took a lot of time and mental energy to figure out the logistics of child care—not just lining up help, but planning meals and trying to lay out things to do, things we wouldn’t think twice about but which require other adults to know where we keep membership cards and so on. So when we at last turned our attention to the trip itself—last Friday night, one week ahead of time–it was a bit amusing (and perhaps also a bit pathetic) to discover how uneven our planning had been:
For one thing, we couldn’t find a hotel reservation for the final night. We both remembered having a detailed conversation about it; we remembered looking at hotels around the airport…but there was no email with a confirmation number anywhere.
Vaguely, we began to construct a memory of how busy we both were when we were booking things. It seemed rational to think we got the plane and the rental car and then said, “All right, I’ve got to do some actual work now, we’ll deal with that last hotel tomorrow…” But we didn’t really know, and the last thing we wanted to do was have to pay for a no-show. So Christian began calling every hotel in Albany, New York and saying, “This is going to sound really weird, but…”
In the meantime, I routed out the trip from the airport to the place we’re staying in the Adirondacks, looking for something to do other than hiking and kayaking, which we are doing on-site.
It turns out there’s a resort town not too far from our destination, and I found a great website listing all the things there are to do there. I started through the list. “Oh, look! Miniature golf! Oh look! A splash park! The kids would love that! Oh, look! An arcade—perfect for the—wait a minute. We’re traveling without kids!”
I had no idea how to plan a trip around what I would want to do. Do you know, arcades and miniature golf and water slides are now what I want to do, too? (Well, and zipline and ropes course…but that’s off limits on a couples’ weekend, too, when you’re married to a man who’s scared of heights.)
I had a good laugh at myself, and then I went back to the categories list and spotted “couples things to do.” It was so weird to click on that tab. I haven’t looked at such a list in years.
It underscored the goodness of a weekend like this. I don’t say need, because let’s face it, a heck of a lot of people make do without weekends away. Besides, we’re already pretty good about taking time to spend together. When the kids ask us why we’re going out, I always say, “Because it’s better for you if your parents like each other.”
And that, really, is what this is about. At home, there are always tasks waiting, someone or something clamoring for attention. Even on date nights, home and work are always close at hand, inserting fingers into the evening.
I’m looking forward to retreating from it all, to turning my focus toward the primary relationship in this family, the one from which all the others sprang, the one that anchors them all.