A little less than a week ago, I left my husband and kids.
Well, ok, the truth is somewhat less dramatic: A little less than a week ago, I kissed my hubby and boys goodbye and left for a vacation. Without them.
And, as I sit here on day 2 of my Florida vacation, full of pancakes and coffee made by someone else (the best kind!) and coming off two full nights of uninterrupted sleep (the best kind!), I am struck by the fact that I have managed to pull off the ultimate Mommy stunt—a truly relaxing vacation without my kids.
But no child-free vacation is complete without a little (or a lot of) mommy guilt. The lovely beach that lies before me is peppered with kids of all ages, digging happily in the sand, jumping in the waves, and chasing hapless seabirds. My kids would have loved it. The beach, the pools, the adoring grandparents…how could I deprive my darlings of such delight?
|Can't. Stop. Reading.|
I thought about bringing them, really I did. But my husband and I priced airfare, and it wasn’t pretty. And the logistics weren’t easy, either: I was flying into one city, staying with relatives who didn’t have children, then driving 2 hours to the beach and a lovely but not-so-child-friendly rental condo with my dad and stepmom. They would have loved to see my kids, of course, but I couldn’t help but think that their vacation would become a little less play and a little more work if all of us showed up. We’re not always an easy crew. Some of us don’t sleep well (Rascal), some of us don’t eat well (Stinker), and some of us realllllly wanted some time to herself to read “The Hunger Games” (um, that would be me).
All of that was reason enough to leave the little guys home for some quality time with their (by now sleep-deprived) dad, but my memories of our last family trip by plane were what sealed the deal:
We were flying to Detroit, changing planes in Chicago. I sat with my then-3-year-old, while my husband and 1-year-old sat in the row ahead of us. Throughout the 4-hour flight, it appeared as if I had gotten the better deal. In front of me, Rascal flat-out refused to nap, and squawked off and on for the whole flight. Next to me, Stinker quietly watched Yo Gabba Gabba dvds for an hour, then fell asleep. I patted my husband’s shoulder sympathetically, half-heartedly offered whatever help I could possibly provide from the confines of my seat, then pulled out a magazine and relaxed for a few hours. But the tables turned as we began a bumpy descent: Rascal finally nodded off, and Stinker woke up extremely unhappy. After a couple of minutes of complaining, the worst happened.
The kid began barfing. Like, everywhere. I remember, when it began, grabbing an airsickness bag from the seat pocket. I managed to get it open, then found myself waving it around the poor kid’s face, trying to catch the awfulness as it spewed out in every direction. (Apparently, a kid’s first instinct when a paper bag is shoved in his face is to dodge, leading to a substantial widening of the disaster zone.) Before it was all over, he got both of us pretty well covered in puke. Of course, we were landing and couldn’t get out of our seats for 10 minutes, so there we sat. My husband patted me sympathetically, handed me some wipes, and pulled out a magazine. (He denies it, but I SWEAR I saw him smile, just a little.)
I thought things would get better when we landed. We had packed a change of clothes for the kids in our carry-on bags, so I was able to get poor Stinker wiped off and changed before we even got off the plane. I was stuck wearing puke-y clothes, but figured I could live with it for the quick flight to Detroit, where we’d retrieve our checked bag and a clean outfit for me.
Yep, that’s what I thought. Until they cancelled our flight to Detroit and oh-so-helpfully rebooked us on a flight the NEXT DAY. When asked where we could pick up our luggage, the gate agent tapped at her computer then said brightly, “Oh! It made an earlier flight! It will be waiting for you when you arrive tomorrow!” I gritted my teeth and smiled, sort of, while I nonchalantly waved my shirt toward her, giving her a whiff of the magic that covered the only clothes I had. Lucky for us, my dad and stepmom lived nearby and we arrived on their doorstep an hour later, stinky, hungry, tired (hubby and me), and completely hyper (the kids). I borrowed some clothes, started a load of laundry, and raided the liquor cabinet.
So. You can see why I hesitated to bring my kids on this trip. Plus, as a stay at home mom, I really looked forward to the idea of having no one to take care of for just a few days. Maybe it was selfish. But I like to think that after a few days of relaxing I was able to come home refreshed, ready to take on the stinky litter box and the toddler with yet another cold. That is, if I can put down “Catching Fire” long enough to see what’s going on around here…