When I decided to start blogging I promised myself that I wouldn’t just post stuff so I could post stuff. I knew that this would lead me to have a blog that was either widely sporadic and at other times more frequent. Given that my last post was weeks ago, I’m into the sporadic category right now.
As many of you know, I live in New Jersey. In the last week we have experienced a devastating hurricane (thankfully my family and I were spared any damage or difficulties), a 2.2 earthquake and last night our first snowstorm of the season. That’s enough to make this Chicago native want to run for the hills….or maybe the beach in Mexico! It’s been crazy watching all the devastation of our state across our TV and computer screens. The places we visit during the summer severely damaged and in many cases, completely gone. Seeing those in my community without power for 9+ days when the temperatures are dipping so early in November was saddening and even maddening at times. At the same time, I am so thankful that our house was completely spared. We did not have one tree down. We did not lose power or heat. We didn’t lose all our food in our fridge/freezer. For the most part, we came out unscathed and we are so thankful and blessed. However, I also was feeling a bit guilty for barely being affected when so many had lost EVERYTHING.
One way to deal with that was to give back. With all that we were blessed with after Sandy hit the East Coast, we were doubly blessed because we were able to provide hot showers and meals for those in need. Months ago I had begun to plan a little getaway for my husband and my anniversary on November 1st. Originally we were headed to Atlantic City. Thankfully, I had decided to change those reservations months ago to somewhere else. Our trip would have been canceled because of the all the devastation there. Instead we were scheduled to head to the mountains of New Hampshire. We debated canceling the trip in light of all that was going on in New Jersey. Finally, we decided to go anyway. It was all set up and the kids were going to their grandparents in Pennsylvania anyway. After we made the final decision to go, we learned that a young couple with two young children were without power and that their apartment was 55 degrees and dropping. Long story short….we gave them our house while we were gone. I felt so much better about going on vacation in the midst of so much destruction by being able to help someone else.
As my hubby and I drove north we were struck by a few things. First, there were many caravans of power trucks and tree cutters headed south on the other side of the highway. This was so great to see. We knew that there would be a light at the end of the tunnel for those hardest hit…literally. We drove by a truck carrying brand new cars on the back that had writing on all their windows “won’t start. flooded. salvage yard only.” We saw countless trees down all the way into Connecticut. We finally found a gas station that had power and no lines since we couldn’t even try to fill up in NJ because it was an odd-numbered day and both our car’s license plates ended in even numbers. This storm was fierce and we were thankful to be able to escape for a few days to celebrate 15 years as husband and wife.
Now….part two of this entry…..
In fifteen years, this is the first time that my husband and I were able to go away….alone….for more than a night. To be honest, I was worried because this was going to be the most time we’ve spent alone in so long. Would we even enjoy each other’s company? Do we still know each other outside the confines of parenting and bills and work? We love each other, but would we still like each other? Yes, these were the thoughts going through my mind. Sad but true.
My husband is not much of a traveler. It’s never been a big priority in his life. Me? I LOVE traveling and getting away from it all. I don’t get bored even when there’s nothing to do. I just bask in it because I know it’s short-lived and that I will hit the ground running as soon as I return. I was seriously worried if he was going to be able to “turn off” enough to enjoy himself and allow us to reconnect. I was pleasantly surprised. We visited New Hampshire at the quietest possible time. They call it the “slow” season. It should have been called the “closed” season. Everything was closed! There was nowhere to go and really not much to do. This ended up being such a blessing because then we were forced to slow down. We were forced to be creative. We forced to just be together without distractions. Thankfully, all my fears that I described above were relieved. We laughed and shared stories. We talked and talked and talked. We drove through a little town not far from where we were staying and walked through antique shops. We found a stop along the highway high up in the mountains where it was snowing and had a snowball fight. We ate dinner without rushing out to relieve a babysitter. We sat in the hot tub a couple of times and enjoyed the quiet because we weren’t hearing “mom, dad, watch this! ” *SPLASH* We genuinely enjoyed each other’s company and truly celebrated our marriage and our love for each other. YAY! Not only did we love each other….we still LIKED each other and liked spending time together.
Now the trick will be to hang onto that at home. To remember to laugh. To remember to slow down. To remember to just be with each other. At first I was worried about how our daughter would be away from both of us for 6 days. I was worried about her schedule and her routine being disrupted. I was worried about her making poor or dangerous decisions while with her grandparents. The first day that we were away I made a conscious effort to just let it go. Worrying was going to get me nowhere. If she did any of those things, I would deal with it later or just let my in-laws handle it. If she melted down (which she didn’t at all) they would just call us and let her talk to us until she calmed herself. I had done all I could to prepare her. I packed her “comfort” items and talked with her about my expectations for her behaviors. She said she would be good and listen to her grandparents and for the most part, she did.
What I realized is that they probably needed just as much of a break as we did. They needed to unplug from the busyness of their lives and just relax. They got a break from my nagging them to clean their rooms, do their homework, read for 20 minutes, pick up their “crap” from all over the house. Just as we got spoiled by the beauty of New Hampshire they got spoiled by their grandparents they don’t see too often. They got to ride their quads every single day with their uncle. They, too, got to relax and just be.
If you are overdue for some time away with your spouse, schedule something. Just do it. Don’t worry. Just do. The kids will survive and so will the family or friends who watch them. All parents, especially those with kids with special needs, need time away to rejuvenate. I am praying that this was something to jumpstart us into doing this more often. We can never let another 15 years go by without doing this. Yes, we’ve gotten away from the kids during that time but it’s always been with other couples. We need time alone…together….no one else. That is how we are able to reconnect. That is how we get to know our spouses better. That is how we become better parents, wives, husbands and people.