Matt and I went away for a few days this past week – just the two of us. Our little girls stayed at Grandma and Grandpa’s house with a slumber party at a dear friend’s house for one night while Mommy and Daddy got away.
We ventured a whole whopping hour away – not really going a far distance, but certainly traveling a far emotional distance. It was the longest I had ever left our youngest, who will be 2 in June. Honestly, it’s not my distrust for people or my insecurity in leaving her (though in some moments I surely was more concerned about her than our brave three year old), but it was just that with two young children the opportunity hardly ever presents itself to leave them for more than a date night away. They are work, that we know, and yet they’re also the norm for us.
Matt thought it a good time to get away and have a few days to ourselves to celebrate our 5 year anniversary early, since late-August (our anniversary) I am going to be “great with child” and since the second trimester of pregnancy seems to carry less symptoms and more coasting. So we left our home in wonderful care of our cats and a friend and fellow past and current youth group members to “check in on”.
When our tomtom started inventing roads we knew we were getting close to our destination, breaking away from civilization into the farmlands of the nearby country. A large rock marking the gravel road to the property only seemed fitting. Twisting through the woods at 5 miles an hour we broke into a clearing of 71 acres of beautiful land. Four ponds, trees and shade, wooded paths, and a two story manor house welcomed us to our new home for a few days. Luxury breathed deep through beautiful wooden floors, large four-posted beds, various sitting/quiet rooms, a dining room that could easily hold twelve with care, large decks with patio furniture, a basement with ping-pong and a pool table, and three separate and private rooms with bathtub, sitting area and King-sized beds. Hopsitality and luxury breathed from the place. And we drank deep.
The wooded paths welcomed conversations, the bench-swings overlooking the ponds brought dreaming and reflecting, the downstairs couch and “movie theater” area delighted laughter that found us smothering ourselves in it’s cushions and streaming tears. Away with your best friend is more than wonderful. More than delightful.
There was also work to be done, times of homeschool planning (I’m now 3 weeks ahead!), VBS material studying, and recipe reviewing/tagging. We wanted to use our time to relax, but also to get a leg up on a few lingering projects and take advantage of the uninterrupted time (a true luxury for us both).
And then the trip away took the turn most trips take – no, not to the fighting or the bickering, but to the “ready to go home” phase. We looked around us at all the place had to offer and both said, “we miss our girls…. our home…” You know, I think time away is a wonderful thing, a break in the normal routine, a time to reconnect and set time apart for each other. But I can honestly say that I think Matt and I do a good job of that on a pretty regular basis. We didn’t come into this weekend not knowing each other, having neglected each other at home. Quite the contrary, we do make a very serious effort to remain best friends amidst the normal (though we all have busy weeks here and there). With the girls’ schedule, we have a lot of time to be “just us” in the evenings (2+ hours at least 3 nights a week). We treasure that time, whether it’s in watching a show together or working alongside each other in a united goal to homeschool our kids or serve the church, or whether it’s laundry or just melting into the couch together. That being said, we came to the time away with no agenda or past scars to fix, but instead with the same priorities to listen and share and love as we have at home.
And we both agreed on the car ride to our time away and we’ve agreed before that we really like our life. We love where we are right now – me at home, homeschooling, wonderful kids, the church, the house (even with her repair needs), devotions, the youth group, our families, even seminary in it’s demanding moments… we’re both just really satisfied. Really happy. Really blessed.
When you go into a time away with that heart, you find it completely acceptable to cut the trip one “night sleep” (as we describe it to Rachael) early and scoop up your kids early because you just want to snuggle them and be around them again. You find it fitting to spend some of the last day reminiscing about your own bed, those annoying meows of the “feed me” cats, the diaper laundry and other laundry awaiting you, the graduation parties and celebrations coming over the next few days that you want to be ready for… the home that you have left and love so dearly.
Sure our household has it’s flaws and it’s frustrations, last time I checked none of us are perfect. But it’s ours. It’s us. Those little voices over the baby monitor, the urgency of the morning cat feeding, the hallway light flickering from a bad wiring, the dishes piling in the sink, the smelling of socks to verify clenliness, the rocking of the over-packed washer… it’s all us. And it’s loved.
So after a wonderful time away, we returned to the delight of our normal…. and we’re grateful.