About a week ago, my very good friend Suzanne asked if we'd all be interested in going to a Vermont Maple Open House weekend that was happening near her Dad's house. She thought the kids would love it, and as her Dad was out of town, there would be plenty of beds for us to sleep in. I told her no pretty quickly, as I had my big, end of season swim meet then. I jokingly added at the end - if you want, though, you could always just take the kids!
She jumped at that idea (which in hindsight, I knew she would).
Now, individually, we have spent time away from the kids. I've gone on trips alone with my girlfriends, I went to India, I take the kids with me while Aaron stays home to work... we aren't so bad that we've never been separated from them. But, the two of us together have spent a total of 2 nights away from the kids. Once when Maggie and Nora were born (but then Aaron went home to be with Cam) and once Suzanne stayed with them while we went to a hotel in Boston (last year). But NEVER have we had someone drive away and take our kids somewhere else... so this was a big deal. I wasn't even sure Aaron would say yes, but he did.
The reason Suzanne and I are such great friends is because we are very similar. She knew to give me a run-down of exactly what she'd be doing with the kids, so I was able to first get them excited about the idea of a sleepover (Cam thought it was a great idea from the start... so long as he got to bring a SLEEPING BAG! Maggie took a few more days). Then I gave them a list of all the fun things they would do. I went to the grocery store and got about $20 of favorite treats, and sent them on their way.
It was a huge success, even though it's so cold that the sap hadn't started running yet - so really nothing that exciting at the Sugar Houses. They played in the snow, did crafts, played with Suzanne's nephew's toys.... and just were kids. Maggie had a bit of a cough, so had trouble sleeping. She ended up in bed with poor Suzanne all night, but from all reports they had a great time. And they were very sad to see Suzanne go on Sunday, which I take as a great sign. They are already talking about the next sleepover!
We both try very hard to be sure that Cam and Maggie are comfortable with people other than us. I want the kids to have more adults in their life than just their parents to go to when they are older to ask questions to and to depend on - and have fun with. And I know that this is something that doesn't happen overnight, so we foster it now. Our best friends are very high on the list with both kids, along with grandparents and Aaron's aunt and uncle who live in our town.
But I have to say, I think it was a great thing for Aaron and I. We haven't had a relaxed, 'only for us' time in over 4 years. I went to my swim meet in the morning, and Aaron worked on his uncle's farm - helping to put up a greenhouse. I was able to hang out and talk to my teammates and even got onto a relay because I had nothing to rush home to. Aaron and I went to the movies and then a late dinner, as we had no babysitters to rush home to. As we were driving home, we started talking. It was NICE to not be rushed and not have responsibilities to run home to - but at the same time, it was strange. The next morning, it was nice to sleep in, but I missed be woken up by someone jumping on me and yelling "MAMA! It's a stay-at-home DAY!".
Having a break from the day-to-day insanity that is our life was awesome. But makes you realize how much you DO love the insanity, and how I wouldn't change it for anything.