Last weekend, we had two whole nights away in a gorgeous hotel. As in, Himself and myself, minus the perma-hungry entourage and the minivan. It was our Christmas present from Loverboy's parents - they gifted us the accommodation AND the childcare - seriously, if Carlsberg did Christmas presents....
I have to be honest though, I did reach a point on Thursday evening when I wondered if it was all worth it. I mean, I'd been looking forward to it for ages, but I'd blocked out how much planning and organization it takes to carve out an extended block of child free time, at this particular stage in our lives.
It's like a military operation - apart from the ten clothes changes, there was the swimming gear, the coats, the welly boots, the Lego, the DVDs, the coke and popcorn (for treats/bribes), the St Patrick's Day 'green' attire, the medicine 'just in case', the special blankie, the toys, the books, the potty...and so on.
Then I had to timetable the birthday parties (present and card in bag 5), cinema outings, (chocolate bars in bag 3) swimming classes,(jammies packed and already in) and all the related dropoffs and pickups. I was exhausted by the time I'd done it all and I hadn't even packed a thing for myself yet!
I do tend to get a bit, shall we say, stressed before I go away. It happens every time - I start to panic about the children. Will they sleep? (They did!) Will they feel settled? (They were!) Will they behave themselves? (They did...I think!) Will Luke poo in his pants? (He did!) Then I convince myself that actually it's all far too much trouble and upheaval for everyone concerned, and what were we thinking, and let's just call it off, sure I wouldn't enjoy it anyway with all the worrying.
At that point, Loverboy said sternly (in quite a rather masterful sort off way if you must know) ' Look, we're going! You always do this and then its grand. You'll be grand, they'll be grand, so stop worrying.... And make sure you pack plenty of wine.' So I did...and he was right...he isn't always always, mind.. ..but he was this time.
After a minute or two Loverboy, ear cocked, whispered confidently "They're Culchies....from the North."
I sniggered, "What is this? 'Game of Thrones? And anyway, pot, kettle, black! Who are you to be calling anyone a culchie?"
'No no!' says he sagely. 'Proper Culchies. Back o' beyond like, Tyrone, I'd say.'
So now we're snorting and laughing under the covers, but the conversation next door was just getting started.
'Hello Matthew? It's Mammy! Who's Mammy's boy? Who's Mammy's big man? Did you have a big sleep? Who's Mammy's boy? Hello! Hello! I'm blowing you kisses! Blow your Mammy a kiss too.Yes, put your sister on. Hello, Sarah, its Mammy. How's Mammy's big girl? Hello! Hello!....etc etc Are you behaving yourself ? Doing as you're told? Here's your daddy now. He wants to talk to you too. I love you. Love you too. I love you more. No you...etc etc.....Put your Auntie on. What's the state of the house like? Don't forget they've that party at 3.. And make sure they put on their hats and scarves, it's freezing out there....etc etc'
To be fair, I nodded and smiled in recognition for a while here and there, but after a good ten minutes of it, we got bored and headed to breakfast. But nearly a full hour later, we came back up and weren't they still at it!? Only by now she's put them both on speaker and was on a roll, tunelessly crooning their favourite(?) songs down the phone. At this point, I can only surmise that 'Daddy' had slipped into a coma.
|Check out those shoes!|
I would guess that they probably don't get away too often on their own, and yet here they were squandering that precious time, their opportunity to connect as a couple, the chance to not just be 'mummy and daddy' for a while. Never mind the price of the weekend and the sacrilege of missing a 3 course breakfast!
It actually made me quite sad for them ..and more determined to enjoy OUR time away. Because here's the thing - having time away as a couple really makes me appreciate the busy day to day of family life more fully...and vice versa. We too rang home for a status report, but when we heard all was well, we relaxed and enjoyed the luxury of 'just us two'....because it would be 'just us seven' soon enough.
And it was - by Sunday night I was back to earth with a bump, 5 loads of laundry and bath night to navigate, but somehow it was easier with freshly charged batteries and a rediscovered mojo...I'll let you know how long THAT lasts. Xxx
PS Please, take a moment and vote for me in the Family Life Category of the MAD Blog awards before 26th March- I'd be so grateful xx