There is no better day of the week than the weekend. And there is no better kind of weekend than an almost universally observed long weekend – just enough people celebrating their extra day of freedom that you don’t feel lonely, not so many that you feel claustrophobic.
This long weekend, though, was top to bottom one of the best I’ve had in a very, very long time. I ate the best grilled cheese of my life with in-laws who we don’t see nearly often enough. I followed an unmarked path for an hour long run through redwoods, marshes and pastures. I enjoyed a lively lunch with friends and a slow, ice cream eating stroll through one of my favorite little towns on the planet. I rode a tour bus through historic dairy ranches and then skipped down three hundred steps to a picture perfect lighthouse. I lingered over too many courses during a long and lazy dinner with my favorite food companion (my husband, of course) and drank beers with sunset while pretending to still be the elegant romantic I once was.
I’ve dedicated a lot of space on this blog to bemoaning the pain of being away from my child, like when I had to travel for that days long interview, or that awful, depressing conference in Las Vegas (though I suppose most conferences are depressing no matter the place, and most of Vegas is depressing no matter the occasion – so, by nature, this one was just a double depression whammy), or even just the nine to six daily routine that is the subject of so many of my complainy posts. So, for all of you who stick around through all of the whining, here’s something different.
This weekend was awesome, and it was awesome because my child wasn’t with me.
A long, long time ago, my husband’s parents gave us a gift certificate for a romantic getaway to Pt. Reyes in Marin County in Northern California (Marin, of course, is basically the set of my dream life). For over a year we hemmed and hawed, we were hounded by guilt, we postponed and ignored and burned through every excuse imaginable until finally, just a few weeks ago (and under threat of the gift certificate expiring), we sucked it up and braced ourselves for a weekend away from Koukla, the center of our world and source of so much of our happiness.
And it was awesome.
Of course we missed our daughter. Of course the majority of our dinner conversation was about how amazing she is and whether or not we think she’s ready for soccer or tai chi. And of course I woke up both mornings with a craving so intense for a hug from her that I wanted to eat my phone when the babysitters (aka Pappou and Yia Yia) finally sent a video.
But boy did we need this vacation. There are so many things we used to take for granted that have become now rare birds flying far away through our memories. Things like sleeping in until seven on weekends, like going to sleep when we’re tired instead of when the baby lets us, like having one cohesive and uninterrupted conversation for longer than five minutes. Like lighting a morning fire and eating sticky buns in our pajamas.
It’s all too easy as a parent to lose sight of who we were and what we lived before we were parents. And for those of us who are in this with a partner, it’s just as easy to forget that our partnerships as well, at one point in time, didn’t revolve entirely around questions of coparenting and cohabitation. And no matter how high up that coparenting job is on our list of priorities, sometimes we just need a break from it to remind ourselves of all of the other things we once were and, in some dusty corner of our lives, continue to be. While I can’t say that I gained anything resembling wisdom this weekend, or clarity or eloquence or even quite enough rest, I can say with certainty that I reclaimed a little bit of that lost soul that’s been clanging around inside of me.