As I mentioned in a prior post, last week I celebrated my 38th birthday. My husband's gift to me was so awesome! He planned a weekend without kids for us.
Now, I love our children, but even moms with the easiest children in the world can appreciate a break now and then. Then there are our children. :) But anyway, it had been six years since the last time both C and I were able to get a break together, so it was long overdo. In all, this weekend "away" makes it only two times we've been away from the kids overnight since they started moving in with us eight years ago.
C found family friends willing to take on one or two of our kids and so they all got a bit of a break from each other as well. It was a good thing, I think. Meanwhile, we did not go far, but we did leave home for a change of scenery. My local sister watched our dog and then came with her family and cleaned our entire downstairs of the house (mopped, steamed the carpets, everything!!) and gave our master bathroom a thorough once over upstairs while she was at it. How nice is that for a gift?! What a wonderful surprise to come home to.
We ended up staying at the local Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. I, personally, am not a fan of casinos, but we did enjoy the hotel. We found they made some things slightly under comfortable probably to inspire people to leave the rooms and hang out in the casino and restaurants, but we made do. For instance, the television didn't get many channels and the ones that came in were not the best selection. So we ended up watching less TV (and darn me for not bringing Scrabble for the evenings), but doing more talking and reading and just hanging out.
After a great dinner out at Zinc in downtown Albuquerque on Friday, we spent most of Saturday, just exploring the area south of Albuquerque -- Los Lunas, Belen, Bosque Farms, etc. It's a beautiful area down there and there were lots of fun little stores and fields of wildflowers which are always a beautiful sight. It was a relaxing time on the road where I didn't feel like I had much to do! C was driving and I didn't have anyone begging for snacks or needing help asking a sibling to respect his/her personal space. Unusual. Nice.
Overall, it was a good return to being a couple. We were married twelve years before the kids came along and sometimes it's easy to forget what that life was like. It was good to know that in spite of being entrenched in parenting and kid issues every single day, we can easily pop back into couple-mode when the opportunity arises. It's nice to know that C and I are still friends who enjoy spending time together -- without the kids we have in common.
I think the occasional night away or weekend away is important for our marriage. We need to be reminded that besides being parents, we are people -- husband and wife, specifically -- and that's what started this whole crazy life to begin with! Someday, when the kids are grown, it'll be just us again. I like knowing that we'll be okay when it is.
P.S. I gave building a photo collage a go with some of my pictures from the weekend. I am far from good at making them, but it was fun to try. Sort of an homage to my less-local sister who uses collages to frame her photos more regularly (and they're waaaaay better than mine). Anyway, that's just a small overview of things we saw -- the sunset was a view from our balcony (sorry about the sky washout!).