Once upon a time, I insisted I would never have children. Before we were married, I told Todd I was not cut out to be a mother. During a large portion of my teenage years, I informed my parents that children would be rather “messed up” if they were raised by me.
Todd, being the persistent fellow that he is, knew I was wrong. While there are moments when my skills as a mother are way less than stellar, the truth is that I really enjoy raising my kids. So much so, in fact, that I have been accused of the following:
- Hoarding children. Back in the day, when I was doing full-time childcare from our home and we provided emergency foster care, it was a revolving door at our house. In a time span of slightly less than five years, we had in the neighborhood of fifty different children turn to me for their basic needs.
- Not trusting others to care for my kids. I hate to admit it, but there may be some truth to this one. I am a perfectionist. The word independent is often used to describe me. I struggle to relinquish the responsibility of childcare to anyone else. I am s-l-o-w-l-y getting better at this, though.
- Failing to get away from my children. This is definitely true. Todd and I have been parents for just about fourteen years now. In that time, we have never (seriously, not once) taken a weekend getaway alone. Once, we went to visit my brother for the weekend and left the kids with their grandparents. Every summer, our parents keep the kids for a week to a week and a half while Todd and I work furiously on home improvement projects. But other than that, we are always in charge.
So, this last weekend, when Todd and I decided to take a weekend away together, it was a welcome respite. Todd’s parents agreed to take the kids for the weekend while we headed to Duluth, Minnesota, for a 36-hour getaway.
Our purpose in choosing Duluth was to attend a homeschool conference. I know, that does not sound like the most romantic of vacations, but it was ideal for us. For two people that have learned how to successfully travel just about anywhere with a trail of kiddos following behind, we may have felt a little lost had we undertaken a completely unstructured weekend.
The MACHE (Minnesota Association of Christian Home Educators) conference is much larger than any homeschool conference we have attended before, with over 4500 people in attendance. The curriculum hall was so big that I got lost on more than one occasion looking for specific vendors. The DECC (Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center) is a building that has undergone several renovations and additions over the years. Navigating it was only easy because Todd is a human GPS. We would have struggled with efficiency if the kids had been along.
At the conference, we spent over seven hours learning new strategies for the education of our struggling learner. We learned therapeutic, educational, and nutritional approaches to incorporate into our homeschool and daily lives. Dyslexia is a term that I spent very little time thinking about six months ago. Now it is a disability in which I am becoming rather well-versed. Because I really struggle with effective multitasking, no kids meant I was able to be fully engaged in every training session.
We enjoyed two meals “out” while in Duluth. I was excited to order from menus with palatable options for my new dairy, gluten, and egg-free diet. I accidentally wolfed down my food at warp speed. I suspect it is a side-effect from eating with children for so many years. Todd is able to eat with more grace and manners than me. In spite of my less than desirable table etiquette, we were able to eat our meals in peace. It was nice.
We walked on the pier of Duluth’s Lake Superior shoreline. It was cold and windy, but we were brave.
We hung out. We had uninterrupted conversations. Todd watched a hockey game while I read curriculum–all without having to explain ourselves or what we were doing.
Saturday morning, the breakfast room at the hotel was crowded. Really crowded. We ended up sharing a table with a young mother and her baby daughter. A plump, blond little girl with a cheerful smile and an independent attitude. Instantly, she reminded Todd and me of three other girls we know.
All of our girls once looked like the little one that ate breakfast with us this weekend. And while we enjoyed a weekend away and are very grateful to Todd’s parents for taking over for us, we were glad to get back to our kids.
The truth is, no matter how much (or how little) we might be away from them, they are always on our minds. Just like virtually every other parent on the planet, we love our kids. And while it was nice to get away for just a little while, our favorite times are the ones spent with them.
Are you able to take getaway weekends very often? Email me or comment below!