My husband and I just had our first overnight without the kids in seven years. I really didn’t realize the magnitude of this until I typed it up as my Facebook status Saturday night. As I hit post I looked at my hubby in disbelief. How could we have allowed seven years to pass by without one freaking night to ourselves? Good lord, no wonder we are grouchy — we haven’t had one 24-hour cycle without a tiny human tugging on us in 2,555 days, which is 61,320 hours!
I have had a few girls’ weekends and he has had a few business trips, but no getaways for just us. We don’t have anyone to watch Emme and Addy. My mom is local, but at 76 she doesn’t have the stamina to care for our kids for a week. We are 30-plus years her junior and can barely emerge from the weekend unscathed.
Our amazing friends, Uncle Greg and Aunt Stacie, graciously offered to take the girls for a weekend. We always decline this kind gesture, because we love them and we want to remain friends after our feral kids’ extended stay. Honestly, I have a hard time asking for help and don’t want to burden anyone, either. Recently, a few different friends have offered to take the girls for us, so the wear and tear of parenthood must really be showing on our faces.
As luck would have it, our friends Nicole and Adam offered to take the girls the same weekend we had tickets to the Outback Bowl Summer Splash at Saddlebrook. This was perfect timing, so we accepted the gift of freedom. We felt a little less guilty knowing we would be 10 minutes away and that Nicole and Adam have kids the same age as Emme and Addy. They could entertain each other. We found a place to board the dog, too. The last piece of the puzzle was Nonna. Do we need a granny nanny for my 83-year-old mother-in-law? Nah, she’ll be fine.
The day of our overnight adventure arrived and we were so excited. It didn’t matter that this was a staycation; we were getting a break for like 20 hours! I dropped off the dog and Anthony dropped off the kids. We never looked back. After all, Adam is a former Marine and Nicole is a psychologist. The kids were in good hands, physically and mentally!
We went to the room first. Anthony poured a few adult beverages and we just sat there paralyzed by the quiet. It was the most beautiful sound. This night could play out one of two ways. We could stay out all night in the hospitality suite or we could sleep like Rip Van Winkle. We shall see.
We arrived at dinner and started to bump into friends. They saw the Facebook post. Whoa man, has it really been seven years since you have been away from the kids? Can you even hang? Are you two going to make it? Have faith my friends. We can still party — we just party lite.
We stayed out until 1 a.m. and slept until 9 a.m. without being hungover. I call that a win.
The sad part was how quickly it ended. In total, we were away from them for less than one full day. That isn’t nearly enough time to relax and reconnect, but we were grateful for it. To have a real reprieve from parenthood I think you need a minimum of four days.
As we drove to pick up our darlings, I scrolled through the Facebook messages.
“Oh girl, seven years? “Wait, What?” “Have fun, you deserve it.” As I read these messages from our friends, I realized how foolish we were. It took us seven years to break away from the kids. That should be a crime.
As we rang the doorbell my hubby just looked at me with this pitiful face and said, “It’s over.” I heard that song by Soul II Soul begin to play in my head: Back to life, back to reality ...
We will not allow that kind of time lapse again. Now we understand the importance of getting away and how it can help us be better parents. Anthony is planning our 10-year anniversary trip and I am planning quarterly breakouts with my fellow mamma bears.
Peace out kids!
Lynn Cristina is a Wesley Chapel momma with two girls and works full time as a marketing manager. The girls’ names are changed here so as not to embarrass their momma. She and her family love living in Wesley Chapel. Contact her at LCristina@tampabay.com.