Friday, April 30, 2004

why alone is not really alone anymore

B and I spent the past weekend in Portland. Alone. We left the kids with my parents for our first time away together (and alone) in about two years. On the drive down, B reminded me that we actually were alone for a short bit while I was in labor with T, but I reminded him back that 1.) that was no vacation—birthing a second child while your parents watch the first does not count as time alone together, even if you are alone and 2.) we were only alone in the hospital for less than ten minutes total before T showed up. My birthday was Sunday, so we were celebrating that, but also we wanted to re-celebrate our anniversary earlier this month that neither of us did a thing for on the actual day.

B and I were so excited about this trip that we made too many plans. Since we were kidless, we were only going to do things we couldn't do with the kids. We were definitely going to spend a significant amount of time at Powell's bookstore, eat sushi (as much as we try to convince them of the virtues of our favorite food, the kids really do not like sushi), sleep late (this means sleep later than 7am, which is actually very, very late by our children's standards. We are pathetically grateful if they wake up past 6am.), get pedicures (yes, B was willing to do this with me because it was my birthday weekend and it wouldn't have been as much fun if he just watched), and shop for clothes for the both of us since we never get a chance except for shopping online, which is truly not a satisfying shopping experience. But seriously, we'd been talking about this one night away for weeks and it became habit to say, "Oh, when we go on our trip, we'll definitely do this or that…"

But then the weirdest thing happened. The minute we dropped the kids off at my parents' house, we both got into very bad moods. I'd sort of thought we'd feel free and happy and suddenly young and unencumbered. We'd turn the music up and drive away quickly. But, no… We felt sad. The car was very, very quiet and I was still at the stage at the beginning of a trip where you just think about everything you forgot, which in this case was aspirin, sunglasses, book (I was planning on reading during our very relaxing and romantic trip?), jacket, nice shoes to go with the dress I brought for dinner, etc. And every time I said, "Hey, did you remember to bring the…," B would just glare at me. It was not a very romantic beginning.

But then he did the nicest thing. He turned around and drove back to our house and I got everything on my list, plus checked to make sure the coffeepot was off, the iron was off (I didn't even use the iron that morning), all doors and windows were locked and then found that the bathroom window had been left unlocked, so I locked it and felt fulfilled. I swear that I'm developing Obsessive-Compulsive disorder. Sad for me.

And we started over. Nobody mentioned the fact that we left the camera at home. We plugged in the new iPod that B bought me for my birthday to play through the car stereo (with the broken CD player) and ooohed and ahhhed at how good the sound was and how cute Macs are, and I think we flirted a lot, too, but I'm not sure since it had been so long. And we finished conversation after conversation. It was such a satisfying 24 hours. We ate late, slept late, walked, brunched, went to thrift stores to try on clothes much cooler than us, and then mourned the fact that we ended up at the Gap. We actually read the entire newspaper, had coffee, fooled around, and basically hung out together in a way that made us both realize how much we liked each other..

And then at 3pm the next day, we were so ready to go home.

It wasn't that we weren't having a really great time. It's just it was all so calm and quiet. Where was all the chaos we were always complaining about? We started talking about how cute the kids were, and cute things they did and how much they looked like us (but cuter) and how smart they were, and then we realized we just missed them like crazy. So we drove home, talking about them all the way—about how much we liked being parents and how great it was to be their parents and how cool they were and will be when they grow up. And how cool we were as parents and how lame it was that we cared about how cool we were and how cool it was that we could admit it. It was basically a love fest. We love us.

The minute we got home, the chaos stated up again. T reached out for me and clung to my hip until she passed out in her crib. S talked nonstop about how fun his weekend was and "Mommy, watch this" and "Hey Daddy, look at this!" and it was overwhelming and noisy and crazy wonderful to be home.

Though, I guess next time, we'd probably be able to make it two nights…

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