How I wish this story read: Last week, my husband and I decided we needed a quick break to be together so we kissed our kids good-bye and hopped on a plane for a week long vacation across the world.
How the story actually read: After months of deliberating with enough stress and anxiety to send us around the bend, my husband and I worriedly left our kids in the hands of a veritable patchwork quilt of babysitters in an exhausting attempt to reconnect and relax for a few days between our busy lives of adulting and parenting.
Because the truth is, as a partnership we had gotten away from prioritizing the need to date each other while allowing life to take over. And while I realize we can’t always jet set 5,053 miles around the world to a beautiful beach and room service every time we need some connection time, that doesn’t mean we don’t carve out time to hold hands on the couch or walk around the corner for coffee once in awhile.
But for some reason (even though we had been doing a decent job of this for 15 years), the last six months or so we hadn’t. We had let slip those times of being just us and remembering how much we really like each other as careers picked up speed and kids began school and all the various ways life has of distracting us. We allowed fatigue and distraction to take over, as it tends to do when you’re in the midst of living with young kids.
I mean, doesn’t Netflix and bed sound better than anything else you could possibly imagine after your three year old fights going to bed from 7:00 – 10:21 p.m.? Ugh. True story – on repeat.
So in an effort to make up lost ground, we booked a trip.
After confirming our dates all the way back in February, I worked hard to coordinate childcare for the entire week. But a month later the babysitter fell through, so I reworked the plan. Then things fell through again. And again. AND AGAIN.
On top of this, I began perseverating over the details – how could anyone else possibly do what I do as The Mom? I mean there are two school drop off locations and not overtly obvious processes involved. There’s homework to manage and piano to practice, soccer and horseback riding lessons…Oh! And the cat needs to be fed.
Then I decided to jump down an entirely new rabbit trail of worry and began questioning our entire family structure and if we have our kids involved in too many extracurricular activities (a topic for another article). In fact, I was actually sitting in my bathroom crying in frustration 48 hours before we were set to board our plane because I was so tired of doing all the things that go into traveling away from young kids.
As moms, I can feel you corporately nodding as you think through the times it’s been you working frantically to get all the laundry done, the house cleaned, the groceries purchased, the kids’ schedules written down, and so on… (Hence me crying in the bathtub mere hours before I was supposed to be going on a “dream vacation” while asking myself if it was really going to be worth it.)
But in that same breath, it hit me: Somewhere along the line of the previous few months, my husband and I had prioritized everything else – except each other – as we repeatedly took our time together for granted. And I missed him. He missed me. And we weren’t being our best selves for our marriage or for our kids.
And then I realized another thing: This wasn’t just a vacation, but a deliberate stake in the ground of our relationship to prioritize us. Clearly, this time together was important to the point that the enemy was scared. Why was I so surprised we felt under attack as darkness tried to thwart our efforts by filling us with an unreasonable amount of anxiety as roadblocks kept popping up.
So I got off the emotional carousel I had been tricked into boarding, turned on some music and finished my late night soak by scrolling through pictures of my kids and husband from the last few years while I prayed for them.
I prayed for all of us as each face passed my screen; and at last, I was finally able to breathe deep, releasing my unnecessary anxiety in the exhale.
I realized it would all be fine. Our family and friends would rally around our kids (and cat). The teachers at our kids’ schools would give them extra hugs during the day if hearts were missing us. And as a couple we would embrace the time we had set aside for each other. We would sleep and eat and swim and explore and sleep some more. We would watch movies and laugh and cry and talk into the early morning hours as the sun crept above the Adriatic Sea. And it would be GOOD.
That’s the beauty in our ability to put all of our cares, all of our worries, all of our trust in God…he’s got us. He wanted my husband and me to connect and adventure together. He wanted our kids to have an incredible week surrounded with people who love them well, as well as for them to be stretched without us. He knew it would be a life-giving and learning experience all along, if we could only trust in Him.
And you know what? Our family is stronger for it.
Annie and her husband live in Minneapolis with their two kids and elderly cat. After an extensive tenure working in the fashion industry for a major retailer, Annie opened her own wardrobe and interior styling company, Hudson & Wilde. She is passionate about creating community, and she also loves to read, write, drink coffee, exercise, and travel. Connect with her on Instagram @aevelsizer and @hudsonandwilde!