Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sans Les Enfants

Sometimes Daddy-O likes to tease me by saying things like, “Want to got to (insert name of exciting vacation destination)? I might have to go to a client there.” It seems like most of the time it doesn’t really pan out so I never get my hopes up unless he brings it up a second third time. But in the past decade we have had some really nice trips because of his work—we went to Los Angeles last February and got to visit some friends from both High School and College while we were out there enjoying the sun. We went to Puerto Rico three years ago and lucked out with our timing—not only was there an excellent Gay Pride Parade that marched down the street we were staying on, but two of the Flying Wallendas walked across a tightrope that was stretched between our hotel towers. We got to sit on the balcony and watch (but I covered my eyes a lot. It was terrifying to watch in person. I kept gasping and saying, “but there’s not even a safety net!!” and Daddy-O was all, “Yeah, that’s the idea.”)

Nik Wallenda and his Mother performing the tightrope walk that killed his Grandfather in1978. I took this picture while my eyes were covered.

 Of course the biggest trip we ever got to go on was to Paris about eight years ago. Daddy O was going to be working a lot and since my Mother had never been, we brought her along, thus securing Daddy-O’s place (or so he says) as the favored son-in-law. During the day my Mom and I toured the city and then in the evening she’d rest while I went out sightseeing again at night with my husband.

That was definitely the biggest trip we've ever taken sans les enfants and it certainly took a lot of coordinating. And that was only when we had two kids—and one of my major helpers (my Mom) was going with us so unavailable to help! I worked it out and managed to have a great vacation.

So a few weeks ago Daddy-O says it looks like his client in Puerto Rico may need him again, do I want to go? Well that’s a stupid question, of COURSE I want to go, I tell him. I’m a warm weather gal and this winter is bringing me down. I’m so in. “Probably not until March,” he said. So I waited for more news on when this might be.

A little bit of this seems like a really good idea right about now . . .

In the meantime, the kids started bringing things home. Party invitations. Sports schedules. Theater week information. I registered for an audition. The month started getting full. The idea of leaving started to become daunting. I nearly considered telling him to go on his own.

A friend said, “Oh just go! You have to!” and while I already agreed with that sentiment, something about the way she said it reminded me of something that happened a long time ago, back when I was probably around 16 years old and a Sunday School teacher (yes). A dad of a small child that I used to babysit for asked me if I’d consider babysitting overnight so he could take his wife away for her birthday. I said yes and let the Sunday School coordinator know she’d need to get a sub for my class that week.

The overnight trip was a surprise for the wife, the dad explained when he picked me up. She knew they were going out to dinner but she did not know that he had secretly packed for both of them and had made reservations at a nice little bed and breakfast. They went out to dinner while I watched their son and then they—to my surprise--came home. It turned out the mom did not feel ready to leave her son overnight.

So the next morning I was at Sunday School after all and the coordinator was surprised to see me. I really liked her, she was also the children’s choir director and also directed some plays, both of which I was involved in. Her two kids were around my age and I liked them both, too. Her husband had died suddenly the year before, gone too soon and shocking his family and the community. I explained to her what happened and watched her face fall.

“I did the same thing when we were younger,” she said. “I should have gone.”

That obviously made quite the impression on me since I remember that moment so clearly all these years later. So I’m going to make it work. I can't justify not taking advantage of this extremely fortunate opportunity to go away with just my husband to a really beautiful destination.  I’ll call on my village—my family, my neighbors, my friends, my kids’ friends’ parents—and everything important will be taken care of. I'll make lists and schedules and make sure everyone has the phone numbers they need. I'll take the differing bedtimes, school schedules, party and sports plans, food preferences, homework assignments and put them in an easy to follow format. Will some small things fall through the cracks? Will any homework assignments might missed? Sure, they might. But the big things will be taken care of--the kids being cared for and their parents investing time into their marriage.

Doesn't Daddy-O look good sightseeing without a kid strapped to his back?

1 comment:

  1. Have a great time, Gina! And, by the way, if you ever want to vacation in San Diego (ALL of you!) our home is open.