Friday, March 26, 2010


My husband and I have never been traditional holiday people. We may not put up our Christmas tree until Christmas Eve - not because it's a ritual or anything... more likely because we are so busy, we just don't get around to it until the last minute. We don't celebrate Valentine's day or exchange gifts on our birthdays or go out for our anniversary - not because we're making a statement or anything... we are literally so busy traveling around the world, running multiple businesses, volunteering with organizations, doing stuff with our kids and extended family, that the event creeps up on us and we just don't have time to prepare.

To make up for our lack of gift giving and scheduled celebrations, we party and gift-give for no reason at all, any time we feel like it. The thought of a unique gift my husband picks up for me in a Yoga Studio in Japan during his travels has real meaning and becomes that more special.

It wasn't until our first child became old enough to understand and experience Christmas that we actually had to spend time advance-planning gift purchases and making an elaborate display of putting up a tree. That first year didn't go so well. I remember stressing over what to get for him and our tree was a naked, hot mess. My brother, mother, and father-in-law had to come to town to help us hippy, rogue parents get our #%*! together. We've come a long way since then, but only with the children.

We started planning vacations 2x a year for places and activities the kids would love. Skiing with their god-brothers in the mountains of Virginia, flying in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon, swimming in the ocean waves of St. Kitts & Nevis with their cousins, throwing slime on each other at the Nickelodeon Hotel in Orlando. They've seen and experienced more in 11 and 7 years than most adults do their whole lives. And my husband and I love creating the adventure.

But there comes a time when Mom and Dad need to get away... alone... with each other. We've had plenty of opportunities over the years. When we drop the kids off in Miami to stay with my mom for a few weeks in the summer, we could fly down to the Caribbean for a few days of R&R, but we never do. When my father-in-law comes to visit for a week during the winter, we could drive a couple of hours away to a bed-and-breakfast in the mountains, but we never do. In fact, I started thinking about all the times my husband and I have enjoyed a trip alone since our first son was born in 1998. I came up with 3x - Montego Bay in 1999, Negril in 2003, and San Diego in 2004.

FACT: My husband and I are work-a-holics. We know this. Others know this about us.

My husband's job requires him to fly to far-reaching destinations like Hong Kong, Barcelona, and Tai Pei on a regular, weekly basis. I own and run a Yoga & Fitness studio and manage my fitness outsourcing company keeping me on my toes about 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. In between our hectic work schedules, we are the parents you see on the soccer field every weekend and volunteering in the classroom once a week. Additionally, we both hold leadership positions with organizations unrelated to work and our kids.

We need a vacation at least once a year.

Two weeks ago, I decided I needed to get away and shut it all down. The meetings, the classes, the presentations, the clients, the laundry, the homework (that's getting harder and harder for me to remember), the fights to break up between the kids, the grocery shopping... I had to get away. My husband has been in three different time zones in the last 10 days. He's been presenting, meeting, and networking with 3 different cultures for more than 4 weeks straight. He needs to take a break. His last conference for the month was scheduled to be in Las Vegas ending on Thursday 3/25, and we decided on whim that I would come and hang out on Thursday and we'd vacation with each other until Monday.

Las Vegas. The last time we'd been there as a couple was in 1995 when we played hooky from our respective jobs and he drove in from LA and I flew in from Baltimore. We finagled our way into a suite at the MGM Grand, scored free tickets (which we sold on the street) to the Jackson Family Reunion concert, and my husband was interviewed by MTV on the strip. (It aired that night, his co-workers saw him, he got in trouble... but it was fun).

15 years later, I'm sitting in the picture window of a suite on the 28th floor of The Palazzo Hotel on the Las Vegas strip. Yesterday, I slept about 10 hours straight, ordered room service, then slept another 2 hours. Today I am scheduled for 3 hours of spa treatments at the Canyon Ranch spa located in our hotel, and my husband is going to enjoy a couple of the treatments with me.

We've dined at fabulous restaurants without fighting with a child about eating his vegetables and reminding the other to chew with his mouth closed. We've partied until 4:00 am without stressing over a babysitter. We've shopped in stores that don't have video games and toys. We've slept until 10:00 am without being awakened by Spongebob Squarepants on the television and a wrestling match in the bed next to ours. We're actually vacationing like two grown adults without a care in the world.

While I do feel completely relaxed and stress-free, I have to admit that I miss my babies. Everything I see makes me think of them, and a little part of me wishes they could be here, too. But, for once, I'm practicing what I preach to my clients and workshop participants all the time: Take a little time for yourself so you can be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend to those around you.

I'm doing me (and my husband, too;).

1 comment:

  1. Good for you, Althea! I hope you are having a fantastic time! Sure sounds like you are! Enjoy!