When you are with your kids 24/7, every day, the idea of having a full weekend without them sounds enticing.
Is that awful to say? It's true.
While I huff and puff about how much I will miss them, the fact is that whenever I pull out of the driveway bound for a weekend away, I breathe a huge sigh of relief. No diapers to change. No meals to prepare. No one to wake me up in the morning or chase around or put in time out or entertain. It's a freedom I once had but didn't fully appreciate. So yes, I look forward to it. A lot.
This past weekend I went away with my husband for his law firm's bi-annual family retreat. This year's venue was the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. I didn't know quite what to expect, since I had missed the previous two (pregnancies #1 and #2), but I knew it would involve good food, flowing wine, and a massage. A MASSAGE. There seems no better contrast to the nightly 7pm witching hour than a massage.
The drive there flew, since my husband drove and I read an amazing book on my kindle - Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. (I highly recommend it). It was rainy when we arrived and checked in, so I happily climbed into the comfy king bed and read some more. I could have stayed that way all night, with room service and a glass of wine, but alas, this was a work event. There was mingling to be done.
That night was an informal event, where attorneys and their families chatted, ate fried chicken, and took advantage of the open bar. There were a LOT of kids there, and tons of kids activities. I started to feel a bit guilty that we hadn't brought our boys. But only for a minute. Then I headed to said open bar and thanked my lucky stars that I wasn't running after them.
The next day was wide open. What to do with such time? Such options? Here's how I spent it: Read book. Get massage. Eat lunch and have a beer. Go hiking. Read book. Doze a bit. Shower.
You'd think I would have been in a constant state of gratitude for such a plethora of free time to myself - for such relaxation - but I find that when I am given these little snippets of freedom, I ease into it as if I have always had it. It's like when I quit my job - I thought that I would instantly be appreciative of the lack of deadlines, stress, and responsibility. But I wasn't. In so many ways, it felt like I had never had them. It's the same when I get my free time now - I settle in as if that is how it should be, as it's always been. Of course I should have an entire day to myself. That's what people do.
Saturday night was a more formal event, complete with sit down dinner and a DJ. It was a blast. I have to say, my husband works with some pretty amazing people. The sense of camaraderie is palpable, people genuinely like each other, and they have been nice enough to embrace me. I started off the evening telling my husband that I wouldn't dance - that I wanted an early night. Suffice it to say we were amongst the last one's standing on the dance floor. We outlasted some of the best of them - the young, the childless, the singles. It's been a while since that's happened.
By Sunday morning I was ready to come see my boys. I missed their smell. I missed their voices. I missed their hugs and the comfort of knowing that they were always close to me should I want one. Two days of freedom was enough - I was yearning for my real life.
We arrived home and we were bombarded by energy, stories, laughs, and cries. Just like that, and I am back in it again. And that sense of freedom - that time for me, seems like a world away. Almost like it never happened.
Until next time.