1. Last Saturday, I drove the older three children to Lancaster, PA to spend the week with my parents. They were excited, my mom was excited, and even my dad was slightly enthusiastic to teach them gun safety and drive them through his hometown. The next day Tony and I took Teddy and Fulton to MDA camp. Fulton immediately resumed his role as Mr. Popularity. Teddy was less sure of everything and everyone. I left detailed instructions with his counselor and gave him lots of hugs and reassurances as he tried to not cry. As we pulled away, all Tony and I could do was pray and hope that he would adjust to being away from home. I kept my cell phone close as we slogged through traffic on the way home, spontaneously stopping for a walk and ice cream. By bedtime, we’d heard nothing and then an email from the camp director popped up on my phone.
Commence joyful weeping.
2. I knew the goodbye and the first night would be the hardest and he’d seem to have made it. I could finally exhale just a bit and enjoy the fact that Tony and I were alone for more than a few hours, for the first time in about 10 years. When I woke up Monday morning, I didn’t know what to do with myself. No one needed me to do anything. The house was quiet. It was downright eerie. Tony said it felt like we were getting away with something illegal; like at any moment someone would “catch us”. I took my time packing up our overnight bag and running out to the store for a couple of items. I returned home and we loosely planned out the day, knowing that we could change our minds at any point. Who knew the ability to make decisions on the fly would make me giddy with excitement? On one hand I wanted to not waste any of the time we had. If we weren’t spending romantic quality time together, I wanted to get projects done around the house, or write, or something else PRODUCTIVE. But on the other, I wanted to sit and read and just enjoy not being needed for a bit.
3. We left for Atlantic City after lunch, parking our van and hitting the boardwalk for drinks immediately. The rest of the day consisted of touring the Ripley’s Believe it Or Not museum, eating dinner at a beach restaurant, relaxing in the room and walking on the beach. The next day we slept in, went to the beach after breakfast, enjoyed drinks in our room and had a late lunch without worrying about following a schedule or routine. We listed to live music on the beach that night and walked along leisurely enjoying the gorgeous weather. Even after checking out the next morning and coming home, we’ve continued to relax and enjoy being together while Tony works.
4. Tony and I make spending time alone together a priority as much as possible. Certainly, there are stages when it’s next to impossible, but we always feel the loss of alone time, and we come away from date nights or walks or any time together recharged. I knew I would enjoy having all this time with him, but I didn’t realize how wonderful it is to have a larger dedicated chunk of time (more than a few hours) to spend without worrying about the kids at all or constantly checking the clock. We appreciated this time together SO MUCH and it has been so good for us individually and as a couple.
5. It’s not uncommon for couple with children to have to push their alone time to the margins of the day, or week, or whenever. As a special needs parent who’s on call 24 hours a day it can seem like you are a caregiver first and foremost with your needs and those of your spouse falling much father down on the totem pole. It has been amazing to share the best parts of my day, and not the exhausted leftovers, with my spouse. To not push off conversations or embraces until everyone is in bed and asleep (hopefully) or to try to successfully crawl out of bed extra early and not wake anyone so we can enjoy one another’s company in the morning. Life has been insanely easy for us this week and we thank God Almighty, MDA camp and my parents for the opportunity.
6. If you think your marriage doesn’t need any special effort, but you can’t remember the last time you spend more than a few minutes alone with your spouse, here are the ways Tony and I make time for each other. Maybe they can inspire you to find a few moments for your significant other.
- Get up and have coffee together in the morning.
- Take a walk together after lunch. (We’re able to do these first two because Tony works from home.)
- We go on date nights during the week, about once a month. We put a movie on for the kids and go to a restaurant close by with Happy Hour specials. We stay the length of the movie and come home.But only when the little boys are healthy. (Teenagers for the win!)
- With grandparents supervising, we will attend special events (like weddings) so long as we’re home by bedtime.
- Sometimes, again with grandparent help, we’ll put the boys in bed and go out late. (This is how we squeeze in late night boardwalk strolls while visiting OCNJ.)
- We take advantage of MDA camp, and will continue to look for opportunities for the boys to go and be independent without us, while under the competent care of others. (Should we need it, we could get respite nursing care for the boys too. Right now though, all the above options are working well for us.)
7. How do you schedule time with your spouse while juggling the needs of a family? And if you don’t, why not? Leave your ideas, inspiration, and questions below! Then be sure to link up your Takes for the week. Don’t forget to include a link back to this post so your readers can find the rest of the Quick Takes. I look forward to reading your posts!