My Facebook status this morning was, "It was a lot easier to be spontaneous before I had two children."
I don't want that to sound like I'm complaining, because it is a simple statement of fact. I love my kids and wouldn't trade them for anything, but kids definitely but a crimp in any sort of free-wheeling lifestyle. Not that I had one of those before, but what little I had pretty much has had to take a back seat to motherhood. At the same time, the desire to have fun and do exciting things doesn't die off when you have kids, so when the opportunity arises, it makes it extra hard to manage the decision-making.
Six years ago this week I took off for Phoenix after a last-minute decision to fly out for the Knighthawks championship game. I recounted the photo highlights of that trip here. It was pretty much the best weekend ever and I never regretted spending the $450 to fly out there. It was a total by-the-seat-of-my-pants adventure, mostly because I'd never flown solo before, I had to figure out transportation to the hotel and the game once I got there, and I pretty much just crashed in Craig's room despite the fact he had a roommate (who, luckily, I had known for years). It was crazy, but we won and it was worth it. A year later I had Jacob, and I was even happier I did that trip because I knew my spontaneous days were pretty much over.
Well...fast-forward through six years and one more kid, and the Knighthawks are off again this weekend to the championship game. Last year it was here in Rochester, which was fantastic, but this year it's going to be in Langley, British Columbia. The team that's hosting, the Washington Stealth, is based in Everett, WA, but their arena is booked. Ironically, the trip to Phoenix occurred when the Knighthawks arena was booked, and the league made us play there. This time they let the Stealth find a different arena, and it's one in a different country, for goodness sakes. Apparently the 5,000 seats are nearly sold out, which is great, but that's a small arena for the league's most important game, and a nationally televised one at that.
Anyway, the night the Knighthawks advanced, I opened up Travelocity and started searching. Flights to Vancouver were ridiculous, even from Toronto (at least $800), so I pretty much abandoned all hope of finding one. However, in talking to my boss this morning, she suggested Seattle. I checked, and it's only a 2-1/2 hour drive to Langley. It's probably a gorgeous drive, too. Those flights were no cheaper, but then I hopped on Priceline. They had a package for a flight and rental car that was less than $500! Even more intriguing is the name-your-price option, because some people had gotten bids of $350 or less accepted for that same route (but no car for that one). Of course, both of those options entail not knowing when my flights would be, aside from between 6am to 10pm on the two days I requested. Still, in looking at the other flights available, Friday could be almost anything but Sunday would almost certainly be 6am since the redeyes available are after 10pm. That would involve an overnight drive back to Seattle to be at the airport by 4am-ish, but I could be running on adrenaline by that point so perhaps it wouldn't be too bad. Or I could be dead tired and cursing that decision. But if we win (and possibly even if we don't), it would be one heck of an adventure. Intriguing, no?
Of course, now that a trip like this would involve leaving two kids behind, there's a lot more that goes into the decision than just the money. Of course, when I think about the money, I think about the other things I'd like to do that the money could go toward instead--new TV, new patio set, better landscaping, a real vacation--or the things it should go toward--daycare, formula, home improvements. But a trip like that has the potential to be a lifelong memory, which is really great, too. I love looking back at pictures from past trips, and I love the feeling of having an entirely new experience like that. Going to places very different than here--out west, in particular, with mountains or deserts--is such an awesome experience every time. And doing it without kids...well, it's such a glorious and almost foreign experience to not be worrying about when the kids need to eat or sleep or how to keep them occupied. Again, kids are great, but they are not ideal travel or adventure companions.
Assuming my parents would be willing to watch them, I know they'd be well taken care of. But not having been away from Carter at all makes a trip like this a little scary, even without breastfeeding being part of the equation this time like it would have been with Jacob. He's a great baby but I don't know how he'd be without us for a couple days. Would the kids exhaust my parents? Would their schedules be totally thrown off? I have no idea. I worry about something happening while I was gone--either to them or to me--and since this is a bit of a random, non-necessary trip, I'd never forgive myself. Given that this trip involves some extra driving, possibly overnight, with a time zone change, it makes me more nervous than I would be normally. The thought of ever leaving my kids without a parent (or both) is pretty much the worst thing ever. I mean, it could happen here on any given day, too, but trips are always a little scarier.
Still, I think there's something to be said for indulging the adventurous part of yourself once in a while. Between Craig's schedule and Carter's needs, there hasn't been a lot of time just for Craig and me in a long time. By the time the kids are in bed, we're both exhausted. When they're awake we usually each take a kid, or when we're all together Jacob constantly interrupts any conversation we attempt to have. While this wouldn't exactly be some tropical vacation that we get to spend together, it would involve some time alone to just be "us" as opposed to "Mommy and Daddy". These types of opportunities are few and far between, and let's face it--without a specific event to force the issue, chances are we're going to have a million excuses to not plan a trip for ourselves. Aside from a couple weekends here and there, we haven't really gone off on our own since Jacob was born. We took our trip to Florida before that, a trip to Portland and Seattle seven years ago, and a trip to Vegas for our one-year anniversary. Add in our honeymoon, and that's about it for the big trips we took together since we got married. It might be time for a trip away without the kids. But whether or not this should be it is sort of up for debate. But would the adventure aspect of this trip fulfill some sort of adrenaline junkie buried deep inside me?
I was hoping that writing this post would help me process everything, but here I am, still torn. I found out tonight I could stay with Craig for free. But the thought of getting everything packed up for all three of us for an entire weekend within a few hours tomorrow night seems impossible. Maybe that's my sign that I shouldn't do this. I don't know. Part of me feels like this decision is walking the fine line between showing that I am a mom and proving that I'm more than a mom.