Parents Vacation
Getting away while making sure the kids are alright

“Mommy and Daddy, I have 2 questions. When will you be back, and will Mema know where dessert is?”

Of all things to be wondering, that’s what Brandon was thinking before Sarah and I were heading out of town alone. I wasn’t surprised he wanted to know when we’d be back. But the dessert? As if my mom isn’t over our house weekly? I love how Brandon thinks sometimes. 

Sarah and I had been talking to the boys about how we were going away for a few days. We were trying to bring it up ahead of time so they felt prepared. While we’ve traveled as a family since Adam was born, we’ve only taken small local trips or weekends away from the boys until now. This was the first time we would be going out of state for longer than a night or two – just the two of us. I realized it was also the first time I flew on an airplane in 4 years (when we only had one child!). 

I was never the best traveler prior to us having children. I worked a lot without taking days off and didn’t really know how to unplug or take a break. Shutting down wasn’t something I considered. I didn’t even have a passport before I met Sarah. On our first trip out of the country, I awkwardly sat by the pool with only white undershirts to wear because I didn’t have anything appropriate to relax and lounge in poolside. It was slightly embarrassing, but I promise I’ve improved my t-shirt collection a bit since then. 

Preparing for a kid-free vacation takes almost as much work as if you were packing and bringing them along (not that I want this to come across as complaining because we were thankful to be getting away just the two of us). But traveling without the boys meant a whole new set of responsibilities to make sure everything was ok while we were gone. We needed to make sure our parents knew everything the boys had to do, from preparing for school to homework and extracurricular activities to packing their lunches and getting to school/daycare, what they would need with them and more. (Of course, my mom kept reminding us that no matter how many lists we handed her she had “managed to raise my brother and me, and she would be just fine.”)

We had planned this exact trip a year ago, only to cancel the night before when Sarah was under the weather and one of the boys got sick at the same time. It was the first time we had ever canceled a flight or rebooked a hotel. So despite the planning and leadup, I didn’t truly believe we were going even though we had tickets to Key West, a hotel reservation and had packed. But once on the airplane, I could relax and happily realize this trip was happening. 

Once we landed, which seemed like an accomplishment in itself, we had to figure out how to disconnect from the endless list of daily responsibilities that we had finally decided to take a break from. Again, this isn’t something I was ever good at to begin with.

On the first night, I heard roosters at the property all night long. I thought the sounds were Adam crying on the monitor we use at home and kept waking up to help what I thought was my upset 3-year-old, only to find it was a bird on the balcony. But once we got past the first night, we realized the boys were fine. Then were we able to just enjoy some time with each other. 

We saw sights, watched boats along the water, watched the sunset, ate great food, walked all over and just got the chance to enjoy being together. We still made sure to videochat the boys nightly to talk about their day, but they seemed more curious to see where we were. We’d often turn the camera around to show them the street below or the beach and ocean off the balcony.

Things got back to normal pretty quick once we got back. The best part of coming home happened when I checked on Adam after bedtime when we got home from the airport. He got all excited, gave me a hug and tapped my face saying “You’re home, you’re home, you’re home.” It was nice to be away, and nice to know we were missed.

Read More “Making Time” by Jason Springer

 

February 2024
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