That was as small as I could crop the picture and still get all of my hair in the frame. This picture was taken on my first ever girl’s trip. It was right after high school graduation. That face was because I was in Panama City Beach, Florida, and probably way too young to be there, without parental supervision. We stayed in one of the few motels that we could afford.
Any pictures that we took had to be developed at the drug store back home and that took up to a week. Half of the pictures we probably had our eyes closed anyway. Back then I was darn glad to have these pictures.
A couple of years ago, I was talking to some girlfriends. We were a long way from 1991 and neck-deep in the throes of motherhood. Everything seemed to revolve around our children. When was the last time that we had taken a vacation without them? I remember when. My honeymoon. Because three months later I was pregnant.
While summer vacations with our families had been the stuff that fun and memories were made of, what if it was possible to take a trip without them? A trip where we didn’t have to cut anyone’s food. Or slather a squirming kid with sunscreen. What if I could go on a vacation and not have to make a single peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
It seemed an enormous feat. The four of us have ten children between us. We all have husbands who work. So many daily responsibilities rest squarely on our shoulders. It seemed like an impossible dream at this stage in our lives. It was a beautiful dream though.
Every now and again when we would hang out, we would revisit the dream. What if it was obtainable? What if preparation actually found opportunity?
We decided to make it happen. The most important step in planning any trip is locking down the when. We needed dates with as few conflicts as possible. That alone was a grueling process. We would need spouses to cover for us and children to step up and do their parts. All in the name of Mommy’s sanity.
After much back and forth. Much penciling and erasing. We hammered down the dates. Then we quickly jumped on where to go and where to stay, once we got there. After much Googling and exhausting condo searches, we agreed upon a place. We booked it.
Then we looked at each other like we had just solved world peace.
Ladies Who Beach Trip 2017 was going to happen. I am writing this post today because the trip is this week. I cannot believe something that didn’t seem possible, TWO years ago, is about to happen.
As the day approaches though, I have mixed feelings. Mostly, I am so excited to get a few days of rest and relaxation, with great friends. I am not going to lie though, I also have a little Mom guilt. I am not sure that mothers ever really escape that feeling though.
What if my kids miss me too much? What if their homework doesn’t get done? What if Dad can’t make their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the right way? (wheat bread, light on the PB, heavy on the jelly, no crust—if you are reading this.)
I will be the first to admit that my children are spoiled. I do everything for them. That is my love language. And while I know that it is also my responsibility to teach them how to fend for themselves, so that one day they can be functioning members of society, I may be doing it a little slower than most of you.
I know that my husband is perfectly capable of keeping this ship afloat. I will naturally leave him notes and reminders all over the house. I am sure half of those notes he will toss without reading them. He has got this.
I realized just how much I need a few days away. I am a perfectionist from birth. It works well for me. Is my husband going to do 1-2 loads of laundry each day, wipe down all of the bathrooms and Swiffer the floor after each meal? Absolutely not.
Will be kids arrive at school and practices each day, having been fed, feeling loved and wearing mostly clean clothes? I have total faith in him. That is why I married him.
The thought of leaving my family for a few days makes me feel many things. But most of all I am excited to leave my cares behind and have a good time with friends. I need to better learn how to relax. And if that relaxation has to take place while sitting in a beach chair, under an umbrella, watching the waves crash, with a drink in my hand, then so be it.
Just maybe my family will have a new appreciation for me upon my return. And will therefore lavish me with hugs and gifts.