Monday, July 04, 2011

Our Independence Day came early this year... or 9 years late, maybe.

Mr. Sandyshoes and I just took a trip... on our own. Just us. No offspring. This is something we said we'd do annually, on or around our anniversary each June.  Maybe a few days, maybe just an overnight, but certainly, we said, we should get away on our own once a year, even when we have children.  We will be the kind of parents who believe our children will need time without us, as we will need time without them, we said.

(Go ahead and laugh.  It's OK.)

Well. I couldn't have left the girls with anyone, as babies. They each nursed until 16 months, for one thing, and I'd have been bereft without them, for another. It just didn't feel right until this year. Yes, our oldest is almost 9. Yes, that is a long time not to have had a few days alone with my husband. 

Over the years I'd see Facebook posts of friends with more and/or younger children than we have, heading up to Boston overnight or grabbing date time with their spouses here and there. I'd envy these friends a little. You hear all the time that it's important to do things as a couple, to jealously guard that time and MAKE IT HAPPEN or it's likely your marriage will suffer. Yeah yeah, and yeah right. How do they do it, these parents of toddlers who go away alone together?  My children were school aged before I'd ever even hired a babysitter for an evening. When the Bean was a babe and I still had a paid job, my parents filled in the child care time between Mr. Sandyshoes leaving for work late and me coming home early. It worked for a while, but when the Peanut was born, there was no way I couldn't be home with them. It was good to be at work, but it was better to be with my girls. 

Of course, one income means less money for babysitters, dates, and weekend trips... so it's sort of a reinforcing cycle.  And so here we are, with the girls 7 and 8, taking our first time together without them. I don't regret the home time one bit, but now we really should be able to do this every year. The girls are ready, we're ready, and, after all, we're the kind of parents who believe our children need time without us, just as we need time without them... right?  Right.

So, this year, Mr. Sandyshoes made the plans secretly, and on our 10th anniversary he emailed me (he was at sea) that -- surprise! -- we would be spending a few days in Maine while the girls stayed with his sister and her family, who live near Boston. Yay! This gave me some time to prepare them for Our Big Trip and Their Big Trip as separate events. They were super-excited and felt All Grown Up.

The Peanut made a brief mention of possibly missing us, then reminded herself she knew our phone numbers, so she'd be OK.

The Bean started making a packing list.  I told her I'd made one for them that she was welcome to, and she said no, thanks, she'd do it.  Ten minutes later she came to ask for it.  Ten minutes after that she said she was going to use my list, because "it looks like you spent a lot of time thinking about it" and it didn't seem to her that I'd forgotten anything. Hee! Oh Bean, after a few hundred trips, you'll get packing lists down to a science as well. I'm actually pleased to have her approval though, she's tough.

Last week we dropped them off and hit the road. Our lucky girls have the best aunt and grown-up cousins ever, and they had the time of their lives playing games and watching movies and doing the swan boats and the Museum of Science and Quincy Market and scootering through Boston Common, and they can blog about that their own selves whenever they want to, but this is MY blog, damnit and WE went to Mount Desert Island, Maine, which was just perfect.  In my next post I will plug our hotel and some of the restaurants we went to and share a couple of pictures from Acadia National Park.

In the meantime, happy Independence Day!