Hubs and I just spent 7--but really 9 because of travel times--days and nights away from our little Munch. It was our 12th anniversary on February 1, and it was a perfect way to spend it.
Not to sound ungrateful, (bear with me) but this is not a trip I asked for. In fact, when Hubs called me a year ago and said he'd won the trip in a drawing at work, I immediately began to cry.
Because I knew. I knew I would "have" to go. And I knew Munch would not be.
Winning a trip as a mother is not the same as winning a trip as a free-wheeling single lady (disclaimer: I have never been this person, but I imagine it's not the same). First thoughts were not of snorkeling and excursions and how many bathing suits to bring but OH MY GOD I CAN NEVER SPEND THAT MUCH TIME AWAY FROM MUNCH. I felt panicky and scared and sad.
There was a lot of motherly guilt thrown in at the beginning of trip planning: A mother "shouldn't" "abandon" her child to go off on a vacation. A mother "shouldn't" be able to spend 9 nights away while her son was in the capable hands of another. A mother "shouldn't" "want" to do these things.
And I always get a bit of a twinge when I hear statements from mothers like, "In 15 years, I've never spent a night away from my children." It's a bit of a badge of honor but also sacrifice. To not be in that club, well, frankly it makes me sometimes feel like I'm selfish or I must not care about my kid as much. I know these are false feelings, but they are the ones I hear whispering at night.
But. I've talked before about how I am desperately in love with my husband. We want to believe that this is a "given" and a "duh" in marriage, but I've seen enough marriages that prove this is not the case. But I do love Hubs, like love him, and it's always been extremely important to me for our children to witness this love. We love to be together. And while we love to parent together, this is different from "being" together. Relaxing together.
Through good, hard work and a lot of support from my family (and, of course, my counselor), I put those "motherly guilt" statements aside. I worked to replace them with statements about how important it is for a husband and a wife to spend one-on-one time together, especially when both are working parents. How important it is for our son to see us enjoy spending time together. How important for our son to know he can spend time away from us, have a great time away from us in fact, and learn how that is okay and normal and good. How important for Munch to know that we can go away and come back.
And so we went. My biggest hurdles were the plane trips. I was terrified, despite all my logic-thinking. "Turbulence is normal." "Flying is a safe mode of travel." I was a mess both travel days, until wheels down in our final destination cities. My panic only heightened as we got closer to seeing Munch again--I wanted it so much, I was sure I wouldn't get to. But, of course, we did.
And it was wonderful seeing our Munch again. He was excited, we were excited. He had such fun at gramma and grampa's, and I thank my in-laws to high heaven for taking such amazing care of him--I never once worried about how he was doing, and that in itself is a blessing. We've had some transition bumps the past few days, like at night when he holds my hand and whispers over and over "Mommy, no go leave." Some meltdowns ("Mommy say no to me."). But, mostly all is back to normal. This is good for him to see, but also good for me to see.
They are memories Hubs and I will cherish, and we're committed to making vacations like these priorities in the coming years. And, similar to how I feel as a working mom, being away from and subsequently back with Munch has made me appreciate him all the more. The way he smiles and jumps 11 times in a row and plays with my hair and kisses our cats. I am thankful and grateful for the time away, and for coming back to my normal routine.