Sometimes I think having four kids changes you so dramatically that it is almost impossible and possibly inhumane to compare who you were to who you are now. My husband and I are in the midst of planning a weekend "away" for our somethingish wedding anniversary (if I tell you the exact number you will say, "Child bride?" and I will have to say, "No, just really, really old." So, let's just leave it at that.). And I am dumbfounded at how something so seemingly blissful, easy, and enjoyable has digressed into such a sad but highly amusing commentary on life as we know it.
It started with me innocently asking my husband what we were going to do for our upcoming milestone. Over his paper with his coffee in hand, he looked over at me and said fairly dismissively, "I dunno. What do you want to do?" So, I did something DANGEROUS that always has serious repercussions. I told the truth. "Go away somewhere we've never been together - like Chicago, or San Francisco." He looked back at me perfectly bewildered and speechless. It was as if I had said this in a foreign language (and not like Spanish - more like Chinese). Calmly and quite bravely he said back to me, "Oh. I was thinking more like getting a coffee at Starbucks and then heading over to Barnes and Noble."
Say what??? Did he even want to make it to the milestone???
So, fast forward a few weeks of silent treatment and we were ready for step 1. I am joking..................
So, step 1. Secure Responsible Care for Our Four Kids For Three Days So That Husband and Wife Can Go Far Away to a Place They Have Never Been Together. Now see how that kind of looks like the title of a book? That's because securing responsible care for four kids for three days is just about as hard as getting a freaking book published. Thank God I have the best in laws on the planet.
Step 2. Decide what to do for three days with no kids. Now if you have four kids (or just two - or possibly one really hyper one) you are probably thinking what I was thinking. THREE WHOLE DAYS without the FOUR kids??? Holy Canoli. Is that long enough to fly to Europe??? Well, hold on to your panties. Thank God this was not a 12 step program because step 2 is a doozy.
We tried several ways to approach this decision. Such as: We consulted a professional. Turns out We Is Poor. So consulting a professional did not help much. She told us we could go to..............................Austin. That's a slight exaggeration, but we are on a budget and we do want to be able to feed the kids till December, so we opted to not go with the professional. We consulted friends. Turns out friends are overrated when it comes to making this kind of decision. And when all else failed, we consulted each other.
Enter: Real Life.
Which just by the name - you know it's not going to be nice.
Remember the good old days when you and your guy or lady would DO STUFF? And, I am not talking rolls in the hay here, either. I am talking STUFF. Like go to bars, listen to music, go to plays (y'know the ones that don't involve Cinderella?), take in a show (ANY kind of show), go dancin', enjoy each other's company. Now if you've not been married long or you are childless - this may be fairly simple. But, if you've been married since you were three sizes smaller, your hair was a different color, and you've had children who have sucked all your brains out of your head - - this may be a stretch for you as it was for me. I really have no words to describe what entailed, so I will just give you the following.
Here's a sample conversation:
Him: So, let's think. What do we like to do? That should help us decide where we want to go.
Me: Hmm. I'm not sure.
Him: Well, I know we like to do something? (say that with a little desperation in your voice)
Me: Yeah, well, I know it, too (more desperation).
Him: Hmm. Well, we used to like movies before there were bars and babysitters there.
Him: What about museums? We love museums, right?
Me: Uh-huh (enthusiasm fading here).
Him: Okay, so not so much anymore. What about live music, the bar scene?
Me: Won't that mean we have to be up late?
Him: You're right. Good point. How about food? We like to eat, right?
Me: YES! (A little too excited). We LOVE to eat. Perfect lets go somewhere where there's food.
Him: It's settled then. We will EAT!!!
Him a little later: Well, we could just stay here to do that.
chuckling and then mad laughter
Me: Yeah, and we'd have your parents to eat with.
a quick digression into more mad laughter
We could think of one more thing we like to do (don't worry I will spare you the details and leave that to your imagination partly because I am insanely modest and also because I don't want you to poke your mind's eye out later) and we love, love, love to do this thing without four ears pressed to our door and continual knocking and asking, "Are you almost DONE???"
So, it's pretty much settled. To celebrate being married longer than Abraham, we are going somewhere that is close enough to not cost a million dollars, but too far for our four kids to walk to and bug us and this place must have food! Yippee! Can't wait!