Last weekend was the first time in ten years DW and I vacationed without children. Since I was a single mom when we met, and we have no family living near us, it has never been just the two of us, except for our honeymoon. (Once we shipped both kids to my parents for a weekend, but DW ended up having to work and I had a concert schedule that weekend.)
Generously, some close friends insisted they take the girls (and the dog) for a weekend so we could celebrate our anniversary. As a young mom, I would have hemmed and hawed at the idea, worried about schedules and meals. I would have missed them too much to leave. But I’m more seasoned now, smarter.
“YES!” I said without hesitation.
We chose a little artsy beach town just a couple of hours drive away, Saugatuck. Normally, I am a packing drama queen, stressing about the house and every detail before traveling. Not this time. I made the kids pack themselves, sorted through basket after basket of unfolded clean clothes, haphazardly tossed items into our overnight bags and hoped for good weather, although it wasn’t a requirement. I would have been just as happy with a grey weekend, listening to rain dance on the water outside our suite, watching movies together. The idea of spending two nights and three days with DW, and no distractions, was intoxicating. Between his work and travel, and the kids’ crazy schedules, I’ve really missed him. He is either asleep by 9pm every night or on the verge of sleep.
One of the most important things you can do in a marriage, is make time to connect, without the kids. Because at some point in your relationship, you won’t have the kids around all the time, and then what? You have to know how to be adults together, not just parents. I don’t want to wake up one day and find that I am living with a stranger. I want to look forward to all the years ahead of us. Our weekend in Saugatuck was a nice preview.
We spent our time sleeping in, eating at great restaurants, taking paddle boat rides, hiking through the woods, exploring the dunes, sunbathing on the beach and watching a Shakespeare play in an old barn. I even enjoyed my first round of golf. Instead of staying out until all hours of the night, we sat on our deck, overlooking the marina, eating ice-cream floats and cuddling up to watch movies. I almost didn’t want the weekend to end.
It’s hard to celebrate an anniversary and not reminisce about your wedding.
And there was certainly plenty to reflect upon.
Brides want to look their best for pictures. You spend thousands of dollars on the dress, shoes, make-up and hair. I gave the photographer careful instructions to get all pictures done by 8pm. All of my bridesmaids and close girlfriends also knew I did not want to drink any alcohol while pictures were being taken, for various reasons:
- I’m allergic to yeast and occasionally get hives when drinking beer
- Champagne makes my cheeks and nose pink
- I didn’t want to maneuver my gown in a bathroom stall (Here’s a tip, the best way to pee in a wedding dress is to straddle the toilet backwards while your best friend and photographer’s wife hold your dress up for you.)
- I didn’t want to be mistaken for a lush years later while looking through our wedding album
- Slightly concerned I would mistake our band for a Karaoke party
Precisely at 8pm our photographer packed up and excused himself from the reception.
- By 8:15pm every guest had passed me a glass of champagne,toasting our beautiful wedding.
- By 9pm I was slightly buzzed and cutting up the dance floor.
- By 9:30pm I looked like I had just finished a two-hour workout.
- By 10pm I was singing with the band.
- By 11pm I was kissing everybody within my reach.
“Goodbye. Goodbye. I’ll miss you, ” I said while being escorted to our obnoxiously decorated car.
The plan was to stay the night at a hotel near the airport. The next morning my in-laws were going to pick us up for our flight to Florida, where we would get on a cruise to the Bahamas.
While DW was checking us in, I decided to have one more night-cap in the bar. I wanted to savor every last minute in my beautiful gown. DW joined me, having his usual, Diet Coke, and then we proceeded to the honey-moon suite.
I got the hiccups in the elevator.They were relentless, rattling my diaphragm with such force my whole body shook. Once we were in our room, I drank a gallon of water trying to get rid of the hiccups. Now my bladder was bursting at the seams.
“Wait, ” I gasped between hiccups, “I have to pee.”
“Wait, I have to pee again.”
“Wait, ” my stomach felt queasy as the hiccups still pummeled my sides, “I think I’m going to puke.”
There was a loud knock at the door.
“D?” echoed a small voice in the hall. It sounded vaguely familiar.
DW cracked open the door, revealing his mother standing there, holding my tiny white satin clutch.
“Are you busy?” she asked, “Em forgot her purse at the reception and I was worried she might need something from it.”
He reached for the clutch and shut the door.