We don’t have any family in town. A babysitter would be too expensive. And what if something happened to the girls while we were gone? Plus they’re so young. And even though flying with them is no joyride, I truly cannot stomach the thought (as irrational as it may be) of getting on a plane without them.
“You have to do it,” my sister insists. She means get away with Joe and without the girls. Easy for her to say. Her kids are ten years older than mine and her husband’s entire family lives within a two mile radius of her house. She can count on one hand the number of times she’s paid a babysitter. Her children see their aunts and uncles and grandparents on a weekly basis, whereas my kids know the UPS guy better than most of their non-nuclear relatives.
So when my sister-in-law offers to drive fourteen round-trip hours to spend a few days with our daughters, Joe is online booking a hotel room faster than you can say “complimentary continental breakfast.” He wisely chooses a spot a quick two hour drive away, so factoring in the free babysitting and the fact that the girls are now old enough to wipe their own bottoms and operate the remote control, I’m out of excuses.
I’ve got to tell you, I’m ambivalent. What will we do all day? (“Have sex!” Joe informs me cheerfully.) What if I can’t relax? (“You’ll drink more wine,” he suggests.) What if the girls are sad and miserable? (“We won’t be there to see it!” he roars. When he sees my horrified reaction, he quickly backpedals. “They’ll live. Juli can handle it. It’ll be good for all of us.” Hrumph.)
Three weeks later I’m sprawled out on delicious ten-zillion thread-count sheets that are luxuriously wrapped around the Ugg boots of beds. It’s two o’clock in the afternoon, or maybe it’s eight-thirty at night. Who knows and who cares? I haven’t filled one sippy cup, nuked a single dinosaur-shaped chicken nugget or chanted a rousing chorus of “clean up, clean up” all glorious day. My watch sits in a dish on the bathroom’s cleaned-by-someone-else marble vanity, because I have nowhere to be but where I am. I’ve been rubbed with hot oil and warm towels, watched an entire uninterrupted, R-rated movie and let’s just say that when holed up in a locked room for hours on end, it turns out Joe and I have no problem finding something enjoyable to do.
We stayed for three glorious days and I fell in love with my husband all over again. The girls were fine. Aunt Juli appeared unscathed—although it was sort of hard to tell as she blew past us, waved goodbye and peeled out of the driveway. Best of all (and I’m not proud of this or advocating thievery in any way) there’s now a handy “Do not disturb” sign hanging on my bedroom door. I just wonder why we didn’t think of that sooner.