This year marks fifteen years of marriage for Jeff and me. We won’t reach our official anniversary date until mid-August, but the year we’ve just experienced compelled us to take a mini-break, as Bridget Jones is fond of saying, and which I am fond of taking. And it isn’t going to be the only mini-break on the horizon either (maniacal laughter….bwahahahaha!) We have masterminded a lovely little set of these mini-breaks, sprinkled across the spring and summer months leading up to our actual anniversary.
With a preemie baby, a perpetually ear-infected preschooler, and a Jack (Henry often reminds us that he is self-sufficient and does not require a sitter–sure kid, whatever), this was not the year for large-scale travel plans. But while we can’t get too far away, we sure can design ourselves a lovely little vacation not far from home.
In three days we managed to see three movies (two art house films!), two museums, and a play. We shopped. A bunch. We acted like tourists in the city where we grew up. We ate the best authentic Belgian waffles I’ve ever experienced, piled with whipped cream and dotted with blueberries. We also sampled pasta carbonara, settebello pizza, salmon and roasted vegetables, black bean ravioli, butternut squash soup, a gourmet burger with criminally insane encrusted potato wedges, and a fair number of desserts.
We did plenty of walking, and sleeping late, and flying by the seat of our pants. The spontaneity (of our getaway which has been in the works for many months–I know! I understand irony!) was really something I relished. My structured life proceeds according to patterns established by trial and error, as well as blatant necessity. There isn’t a whole lot of room for veering off the well-marked path of morning routines, school routines, therapy routines, transition routines, and bedtime routines around these parts. You can try it, but you may very well be met with a meltdown.
So we generally keep it sort of predictable. Attempts to change it up usually proceed best when they are small, gradual, and consistently practiced many, many times over many, many months. Structure, patterns, and order are good, especially when they maintain a sense of safety and peace for one special red-headed boy.
But freedom from these omnipresent structured routines can be equally refreshing and wonderful for this mom and pop. It gave me a sense of well-rested well-being and renewal, as well as a momentarily unencumbered perspective for evaluating how we do things at home. It’s amazing what clarity can arrive with a little bit of space and quiet.
As we drove home, I said to Jeff, “You know they are all going to fall apart when we get home, right?” And fall apart they did. But after the blitzkrieg homecoming of several hours duration, we shoehorned our way back into the routines which circumscribe our lives.
We’re back. The dust has settled. The boys are happy. It’s nice to be home. And round two of the year in which we celebrate our crystal anniversary is just around the corner.