“You must be crazy,” my friend told me when I told her we were taking our first child-free trip since our baby was born 17 months ago. Maybe we are. Leaving the baby was hard. But being alone, just the two of us? That was exactly what we needed.
Many parents would never dream of leaving their little ones in the care of family while they go on vacation. But for my husband and me, our once or twice a year long weekends are completely necessary to our happiness. We hadn’t taken one in almost two years. And it showed.
So last week, my husband and I packed up the car and all three of our children (8, 6 and 1) and we took a little road trip. We dropped the kids with my parents and we headed out on our own for five beautiful, blissful days of spas, wine, delicious food, reading and exercise. Was I sad when I left the baby? Yes. Did I forget about it a few minutes later? Yes.
No guilt. Just bliss.
My husband and I have been married 12 years. During eight of those years, we have had one or more children. We love them. But they usurp all of our energy. We fall into bed almost too exhausted to speak at the end of most nights. We need time alone to catch up and be together. To love one another.
The truth is, we were a family long before the little ones came. You don’t have to have babies to be a family. Our marriage is the very foundation on which all the things that make our family strong are built. It is in their best interest that we take time alone together. To talk. To kiss. To be.
And that is just what we did. We went from massages to the steam room to the hot tub. We took long naps and cuddled in bed while we read. We spent time on the beach and held hands during dinner. We went out for drinks and shared laughs so hard we had tears running down our faces. After months of stress and little time, it was just what we needed.
By the time we went to pick them up at the end of five days, we were sad. We were a little down to see our time end. But we were also blissed out. We held hands. We took the kids’ screaming more in stride. We laughed more. We let things roll off our backs.
So were we crazy to leave our baby? Maybe. But it’s the kind of crazy that makes our marriage strong. We are better for it. And so is she.