The first night and morning they were gone felt like enough of a break. The house was so quiet. We're usually exhausted from running around with work, drops offs and pickups, fighting DC traffic, after school activities, and daily chores, that it’s a luxury if they have a sleepover with their cousins for one night. But three weeks?
First we gorged on delicious food at several DC restaurants we'd heard about longingly: Ocopa, where the food was overpriced and the steak was overdone, and Del Frisco’s Grille DC , where everything was perfect and they accepted our crumpled up expired coupon because we probably looked tired, but nice.
One night, however, it was 7:45 pm and we looked at each other blankly - now what? There were no baths to give, dishes, refereeing of fights, wiping up smeared banana off the floor or packing lunch for the next day. We quickly got over our initial shock of it all and now we are so relaxed and adult-like that we sip sparkling wine after work, take the time to roast butternut squash for dinner, binge watch this new show GIRLS that apparently launched in 2012 and catch up on politics, the state of media and our writing. We talk. We sleep. We read. We reconnect.
We also cleared out cluttered closets and drawers, organized our finances and planned out perfect schedules for the new school year that will surely unravel soon. We fight over things we never had time to fight about. We even went to the Summer Spirit Festival to see Erykah Badu and ended up eating fast food at 2 am, like young folks, because we could. No little one would be waking us up at 6 am the next day.
During one of our child-free weekends we went away. We drove to Solomons Island in Southern Maryland and stayed at the Back Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast. The place sits on the water and when you go outside you hear the birds and bugs. When you wake up you are greeted with dainty teacups and eggs benedict for breakfast. When you’re done eating, you can step outside on the porch and admire the flowers, or just sit there.
“This is how the other half lives,” I said. These are the secret calm places we never get to see because children under 12 are not allowed, so it will be at least 11 years before we can go back.
Two-thirds through our parental sabbatical, we feel superhuman – we’re happy, refreshed, and organized.
We also deeply miss our daughters. I would take them back yesterday (if I had to.) But since they aren’t back yet we are going to enjoy these last few days of grown-up life, and I will always cherish these three weeks as the most luxurious peek into how the other half lives. I wouldn’t trade lives with you relaxed, happy people, but I envy you, just a little bit. Ok, a little more than that.