Several months ago, I was chatting with my friend Amanda at a networking event. She was thinking of escaping by herself for the weekend, and I suggested that I could tag along. At the time, we both just needed a break, and we were talking out loud. I doubted that it would actually happen. But then we got it together, and it did actually happen. This is how I found myself boarding a ferry on Friday afternoon, headed off to Victoria without my children or my husband.
Taking a walk on the seawall on Friday evening
We walked along the seawall. We visited a museum and took in the exhibits at our own pace. We sipped cocktails and listened to some, um, interesting jazz. I had my first proper martini, met up with the fabulous Melodie for lunch, visited what may just be the best shoe and handbag shops in the world, bought an eco-friendly tunic from an eco-friendly clothing store, ate all kinds of yummy food and went to sleep and got up on my own schedule.
“Here” was far from home, and child-free
I was away from my kids for longer when I attended BlogHer in San Diego last August. Even so, I was nervous about leaving. Getting on a boat and sailing away from your family seems like a big deal. But luckily everyone survived in my absence. In fact, everyone thrived. It’s a good reminder that my husband is a competent, loving parent, and he’s fully capable of taking care of his children. It’s a good chance for everyone to bond a little bit without me. And it’s a much-needed escape from my normal life, which I embraced fully.
Apparently Darth Fiddler is a Victoria institution
One of the lessons of childhood is how you can go away, and find things exactly as you left them when you come back. The world doesn’t change just because you’re not in it. This is a lesson that I’ve had to re-learn in motherhood. When my children were babies and young toddlers, they had a strong need to be with me. I was their primary relationship, and even their source of food. But gradually that need changes, and the urgency diminishes. They need me – but they don’t require my constant presence. Once again, I can leave home, and find things just as I left them when I return.
Look, I’m in front of the Legislature!
The world won’t stop spinning because I am not in it. I can choose to take a couple of nights away, sipping cocktails and window shopping and taking time at my own pace. And then, when it’s over, I return, eager to see everyone again. I come home, and scoop my children up in my arms, lavishing them with kisses. They rush eagerly to see me, talking over each other in their efforts to fill me in on the latest news. Then they head off to play, holding the gifts I bought them in their hands, continuing on as before. I see their increasing independence, and the way that my own independence increases in the process. I feel a little bit wistful, but I also really, really like it. It gives me the space to be find myself again, if only for a weekend.
Do you ever travel without your kids? I’d love to hear all about it!