"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Sunday, August 14, 2011

conquering fears

Sam and I went away for a night. Without the kids. For the first time ever. 

I have never been away from both of my children at the same time for more than a couple of hours at a time. I've never been away from Max. I've only ever left Evan at preschool and, except for the two days I was in the hospital after having Max, never over night.

But....I noticed an opportunity....Evan and Max are at such "independent" ages: easy to put to bed, on a relatively predictable schedule, and easily distracted from separation anxiety. And this window of opportunity is rapidly coming to a close (for the next couple of years, anyway), come February and the arrival of the new baby.

And so, I put on my Big Girl Pants and planned a trip for me and Sam. Albeit a quick one....and pretty close to home. But a trip nonetheless. 

The leaving was hard....Not for Evan....he was captivated by a conversation with Grandpop about the forest fire on the North Carolina border. But Max was pretty sad and clingy, "Coming! I coming! Max coming! Home time! Mommy home time!" And there were tears...Max's and, subsequently, mine. But Max's were soothed by Grandmother's idea to decorate cupcakes. And mine were soothed once I heard that he had stopped crying before we even left the garage.

And then we were off! With this special green leaf in hand that Evan gave to me with the following instructions: "Here's your leaf, Mommy. I got it just for you in case you miss me. If you miss me you can just look at it and it'll make you happy." My sweet, thoughtful boy.

So we went to Charlottesville and stayed at a beautiful hotel with gorgeous views.

And then went for a walk on the Downtown Mall, for some shopping....people watching...leisurely conversation....

...and some chalk drawing....this is a huge slate wall open for public drawing, graffiti, and political sentiments....

...along with some timely reminders...

...and love notes....

We also enjoyed some free live music. I wonder where this cellist came from....what his story is...and if he's happy. His music sounded sad....

And then, to top off the evening, we ate at one of my absolute Charlottesville favorites (of which there are many. So many. I dream about Charlottesville restaurants. In my pregnancies, I crave Charlottesville restaurants...coincidence that I planned a trip here mid-pregnancy? Hmmmmm.).

This is not the menu. This is just the BEER menu. And it's not even ALL the beer, just the bottled beer. Here, there are 66 different kinds of bottled beer. Plus a dozen or so on tap.

The waiter asked what I'd like and looked honestly shocked when I answered, "Just water." I patted my big, round tummy and said, "Until February, anyway." His face lit up and he said, "Congratulations! My son's due date is today!" !!! He seemed full of nervous energy all night, and was just about the giddiest tattooed tap-house waiter I've ever seen. I loved it. And I loved talking babies with this first-time dad-to-be, who had no idea just how amazing and beautiful his life was about to become.

And so we sat on the balcony, drinking beer and water, and watching the world go by beneath us.

My thai chicken curry was just okay. 

Yeah, right. It was so delicious (and spicy) in fact, that when I finished I got the sweetest thing....the very first baby kicks!! It was in perfect comedic ba-dum CHING! rhythm. And at just 12 weeks and 5 days, it was a very welcome and very happy surprise. Is there anything better?

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel. We congratulated ourselves on being such brave parents. And then Sam said, "But I'm glad we're heading back tomorrow. I want to see the kids." And that's why I married him...because as much as we loved our grown-up time, we're a family. We belong together. 

We enjoyed a leisurely wake-up at 7 am, without our daily alarm clock of pitter-pattering, not-so-little feet and a "whispering" voice loudly asking, "Is it time to go downstairs yet?" And with only ourselves to get ready for the day, arrived at breakfast half an hour before our reservation. After breakfast, we hit the road, eager to get home to our kiddos. Our family.

We spent the afternoon at the park and, even though it had only been 24-hours away, I basked in this.... 

....and this...

....and this.

But especially, This....

....and This.

Lesson Learned:
I'm glad we did it. We'll do it again. But not anytime soon.

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