The wife and I got away for a whole week last week, just the two of us. I'll repeat that last part. Just the two of us.
A delayed 10th anniversary trip, the stars were alligned and we have much to be thankful for (besides each other.) The airline we have miles on had two seats to a really warm location. My parents were thrilled to come to town and stay with the kids for a whole week. And my in-laws were quite generous in making the vacation possible to begin with.
Except for a brief weekend trip, this was the first time we had been away from the kids for any significant time. Being far away, we anticipated a bittersweet time: we knew it was good for us but we'd really miss the kids, making us a little sad.
I don't want to sound heartless, but I didn't miss the kids. Don't get me wrong - seeing them when we came back was great and there were even one or two times on vacation where we said "wouldn't X really like this!"
But all that was outweighed by the fact that all that time alone with the wife was exactly what we needed. Every day, every week, every year we each spend time being employees, parents, adult children, citizens and occassionaly individuals pursuing unique interests.
What too often gets lost in all these worlds is being a spouse. Not just coming together to discuss parenting matters or budget issues or getting each other's brief thoughts on the day's interaction with the boss. Spending quality time - whether a lot or a little - on a regular basis.
Taking a vacation really rejuvanted that. It reminded us how important it is to keep that ball up in the air with as much gusto as we do all the others. The trick, of course, is figuring out how to maintain that without having to go on a week-long vacation without kids on a regular basis. While that has a lot of upside, I would imagine its what you do in between that matters at least as much in the longterm.
I'd be curious to hear from readers of this blog what you and your spouse do to carve out space for just yourselves on a regular basis.
(photo credit: www.treehugger.com)