August 7, 1985
We did it! It took a great deal of planning and we only got four days but for the first time in 18 years my husband and I went away without the kids! Unless you have at least three children you may not understand my elation.
Since the oldest was born we have tried to convince ourselves that traveling with playpens, diapers, toys, favorite stuffed animals and later books, tape recorders, radios, blow dryers, etc was in fact a vacation. We went through the “week at the shore” phase, the “find a place near a theme park” phase, and the “educational phase” when we learned more history than anyone should know.
Through it all we thought up ways to make the travel time pass quickly, worked out ways to rotate seating so everyone had a turn by the window and used every threat known to parents to prevent WWIII from breaking out enroute.
It took several years to achieve this vacation. A few times in the last few years we thought we were going to make it. But fate always intervened. This year though we had two going to the same church conference and there was a great camp for the third one to attend. Then number three decided he didn’t want to go to camp! But grandma and grandpa came to the rescue (their experiences with a 13 year old are enough to fill a book) and off we finally went.
When astronauts come back from space they have a chance to debrief – to come back into the real world – divers ascend from the sea gradually, and we all need time to adjust from dark to light. Parents should have a similar period of adjustment when embarking on a vacation alone.
Suddenly we were faced with SILENCE. We drove for miles with no sound but the engine. And we listened to music on the radio! You know the kind I mean – with a melody and words you can understand and repeat without blushing!
For those of you who have not tried this type of vacation yet let me list a few of features. You can set your own hours, go where you want, eat what you want and you do not have to multiply the cost of everything by five. You do have to guard against statements such as “wouldn’t the kids love this,” or “we should bring the kids to see this”. Keep telling yourself that there should be something left for them to experience on their own when they grow up.