Grownup getaways

Jul 13, 2008 at 11:59 a.m. ET

My wedding anniversary is coming up. Seventeen years. I can hardly believe it's been that long, yet when I look at our wedding photo I am reassured that is has been. We were so young! I had no appreciation for the natural collagen in my skin back then.

Married Couple
Several people have asked me recently if my husband and I are going to go away for our anniversary. Honestly, the thought does not occur to us. As much as it might be nice to get away, just the two of us, it's not likely to happen.

Every situation is different

Since having kids, my husband and I have never been away without children. The only time we were away from Alfs was when Woody was born. We were away from Woody when Alfs had a medical crisis (hospital on-call rooms don't count!), and from Alfs and Woody when Sunshine was born. And that's it. Some people we know are shocked at this; others nod knowingly. 

Although we have friends that we can call in an emergency (as when Alfs was sick), we do not have people in our life who we could call on to take the kids for a weekend. We just don't. It just works out that way for some people, and it's not something we dwell on. I have friends with parents and in-laws that practically argue over who gets the grandchildren for long weekends and how soon, other friends with doting siblings who will move in with neices and nephews for weeks at a time, and so on, but not every family works that way. While I wouldn't say that I am jealous of my friends who have these situations, I wouldn't say I am not jealous, either. I mostly express my hope that they realize they are in a very fortunate situaion, and most do.

What we do have

Rather than dwell on what we don't have, my husband and I focus our energy on what we do have. We have a healthy, happy family, and we love each other very much. We make the best of the time we do have together when we are able to procude a babysitter or when the kids are asleep (a "picnic" dinner in front of the fireplace can be very romantic) and try to recognize that the kids will be grown and gone soon enough and we'll have all the couple weekends we want. Be careful what you wish for, you know? At least that is what we tell ourselves. If our situation were different, if there were people we could call, my attitude might be different. I might then be extolling the value of couple-only getaways!

A couple of years ago, we visited Quebec City on a family vacation. It was gorgeous. The Chateau Frontenac in the old city was stunning and obviously romantic. Even while my husband and I don't dwell on not going away as a couple, we do occasionally think about what we would do if we could. That vacation, Quebec City shot to the top of the list.

One day, soon enough, we'll get our weekend alone in Quebec City or wherever. We may appreciate it all the more because of what it took to get there after so many years. Until then, we still have each other and we'll still make the best of our situaiton. And we'll remember that getting away is as much a state of mind as it is a physical excursion.