Lessons From a Kid-Free Week

So it turns out that I really do like my husband.

This was actually a bit of a revelation. It came to me while the kids were both away at summer camp for a week and the hubby and I had the house entirely to ourselves for several consecutive days. We could come home from work and have the house exactly as clean as it was when we left. We didn’t have to referee any arguments, negotiate any deals, or listen to any whining. The tension and stress melted away and we were both in a better mood. Without the pressures of parenting, we could relax and rediscover what it was that made us decide to join our lives together for better or for worse.

We’ve been kid-free for long stretches before, but we were always the ones that left. (We’re fortunate to have family that are willing to babysit for extended periods while we get away by ourselves…so blessed!) A vacation by ourselves is precious and wonderful and rejuvenating, but it’s a fantasy life that you know can’t be sustained. It’s a temporary escape, and it always comes to an end.

But it was different when the kids went away. For the first time in forever, we could truly relax in our own home. I caught a glimpse of what life was like before we had so many obligations and responsibilities–and what it could be like again once the boys are grown and out on their own. I spend so much time wishing for everyone to just get out of the house and leave me alone that for a long time I honestly couldn’t imagine how we’d survive the retirement years. Wouldn’t the constant togetherness drive us nutty?

But it turns out that although we tend to get caught up in the craziness of family life, the love that started it all is still alive and well.

We just need to work harder at remembering that.