Many months ago, Craig called me at work and somehow brought up that there was a possibility of going on a really nice trip courtesy of his team owner. Fancy trips are something that the owner has done for upper management and the coaching staff for years, but never has it trickled down to the staff. Well, it appeared, the staff's time had come, families were going to be invited, and there was a very good chance we'd be going somewhere nice in early April.
Initially some of the possible destinations were tropical and gorgeous. Craig and I went back and forth many times discussing the possibility of taking the kids. If they're invited, yes, it seems like a waste to not give them that opportunity. But then again, we haven't been on a real vacation by ourselves since before Jacob was born, and this was our chance to do it better than we'd probably have ever let ourselves. Honestly, at the time we were only a few months removed from the disastrous trip to Toronto over the summer, where every moment was spent trying to keep the kids separated, and the last thing I wanted to do in paradise was referee. I didn't want to have to worry about what Jacob could eat, or how miserable Carter would be at the pool, or spending multiple nights in a hotel room trying to get them to sleep at a reasonable hour. And as much as Craig kept digging to figure out if the destinations might have kids programs and things that might make the trip easier, I was adamant that I didn't want to take them.
I love my kids, I really do. But I love my husband as well, and we are sorely overdue for some serious time alone. We can barely have a conversation without getting interrupted numerous times. Date nights are almost non-existent as I hate having to bug Lori to babysit and I don't even want to leave both kids with anyone else at this point because they're such a disaster together. So, we've opted to do date lunches once or twice a month. It's only an hour at a fast food joint, but it's something. And I want that for a few days, just to see what it feels like again. Maybe, God forbid, we'll find out we're totally bored with one another, but hopefully we'll recapture some of the fun of our pre-kid selves and make a whole new set of memories to bond us for years to come. And I know that while family vacations are also great for that memory making (even when there's a lot of suckiness interspersed in it all), this was too big a chance for us to pass up for ourselves.
But Craig came back with, "When will we ever get another chance to take the kids to the Caribbean?" My response? "That's not our job!" My parents have been to the Caribbean many times and have never taken me. Granted, they didn't start going until I was in high school, but even still, that was never an expectation I had of them. Back then I watched many friends go on fancy, tropical vacations with their parents, and yet I knew that wasn't something we were able to do, as my parents chose to save and spend their money more carefully. Do I wish we could have taken a few more nice trips? Of course. It would have made for some great memories all these years later. But I don't begrudge my parents what they have now because they worked hard for it. And since the Caribbean was a new thing for them in their late 40s, they set the example that not everything needs to happen NOW. Clearly they were much older than me getting to do that for the first time, and it told me that someday my time would come, too. And someday I hope it will for my kids. But it is not a parental mandate to take them to some fancy destination. Fun places, yes. Historical places, absolutely. But the tropics? Nope.
When the final destination came down, there was good news and bad news. The good news is that it made our decision about the kids very easy. The bad news is that it was the least exotic of the locations. In fact, we've already been there--Las Vegas. I got over my disappointment pretty quickly, however, since there's some Chihuly stuff to see there and we'll be staying at a very nice place that we'd never be able to afford ourselves. Sure, I'd love to have gone somewhere exotic and sat by a tropical pool, or watched beautiful sunsets over a clear blue ocean, but this could be pretty awesome, too.
The only problem? We're three weeks out, and we have absolutely no information about it. We know nothing about anything...no flights, no activities, no details whatsoever outside of the original dates we were told to block off. Aside from one day where I had to provide my name as it appears on the ID I will be using to travel, we have no reason to believe anything is booked. But we haven't heard it's NOT happening, and everyone on the staff is still operating as if it is happening. But there's no doubt that the silence from the higher-ups is starting to concern everyone. And because it's hard to not sound like an entitled jerk if you start pressing for information for a trip you're beyond lucky to be receiving, no one has asked. So we wait.
In the meantime, the planner in me is losing it a bit. I like to prepare for stuff like this way ahead of time, and I feel like I can't. I don't want to do a million things only to end up disappointed, but I also don't want to wait until the last minute and panic. For example, don't get out much, so I need to consider my "cool" clothes. Not to mention that we're off-season for summer stuff and I need to think about what I even have buried in my off-season closet. I'm not that cool by nature, but I'd like to do the best I can with what I have, and that takes planning! Will we have nice dinners? Will we be going to a show? Will I end up in a club? I'd like to plan ahead as much as I can.
Also, with my parents coming in to watch the kids, I sort of need to know when our flights are so I know if they need to be here the night before, or if they can come in that day. And since I don't know when our flight would come back, we won't know if they'll need to be here part of the day, all day, or late into the night. In the meantime I do have a lot of stuff to record for them, from the kids' schedules to possible menus to accommodate Jacob's diet and both of their palettes. That's a lot of work and I don't really want to get through all that only to not use it!
Can you tell I'm nervous? I think I'm still a little scarred by the postponed trip to Florida four years ago. We were supposed to go to Disney with Craig's family the November before Carter was born, and--no lie--it seemed surreal and amazing that we'd be in Disney as it was turning to winter here. Sure enough, it was surreal, because the trip never happened. Two weeks before, Craig's mom had emergency surgery and the trip got postponed. His family went without us right around when Carter was born (we knew we wouldn't be ready for a while), and we took our trip once Carter was a bit older. Craig's parents were supposed to go on that one with us, but his dad had his own medical emergency a couple weeks before that trip! It was probably best in the long run because that was early on in Jacob's behavior issues and they probably would have been upset about how he was acting. But long story short, losing the original trip a couple weeks before was tough. And I think I'm still living with that fear now. This trip seems sort of surreal as it is, and that nagging fear that something isn't going to go as planned won't go away. And with how much weight I'm putting on this trip to be a nice little booster shot for our marriage, losing it would be pretty devastating. Not to mention that I'm really looking forward to a few days away from work, and if we don't go I don't think I'm going to waste the vacation days just sitting home feeling sorry for myself.
While I don't want to sound entitled, I just really need this trip to happen. Mentally it's just something I need to do--for me, for us, and even for the kids. I think it was a good character builder that my parents used to go on vacation without us and we had to spend a week with other family. We got a little spoiled by grandparents, for sure, but we still had to learn how to adjust to new circumstances. I have precious memories from those times, especially now that my grandparents have all passed away. We also got to miss our parents a little and look forward to seeing them (and getting souvenirs!) when they came home. Now as a parent myself, I realize how important those vacations were, and I appreciate the example they set by making them okay. We have to make ourselves a priority or the family ceases to function. If for some reason it doesn't happen, we'll probably have to pull out our wallet and make something happen for ourselves. It's time. It was one of the lessons I learned from my cousin's and my uncle's funerals last year: You never know how much time you have left, so you need to step out sometimes and live life to the fullest--within reason, without sending yourself to financial ruin--but full nonetheless. And after 13+ years of marriage and 8+ years without extended time alone, I think it's time to make that leap, however we need to do it. Let's hope we can do it the easy way, though...