Oh my. How could we have let 3 years slip by without a night away? Some of you are probably gasping in surprise and some of you are shrugging out of embarrassment. It's okay, come here - **group hug**
Like I've said before, children are a time machine. The second you have them, they catapult you into a time warp that speeds up everything about life that you love (cuddling, sleeping, relaxing) and slow down all the things you can't quite handle (whining, vomiting, fighting). And before you know it, three precious years have slipped by without your head hitting the pillow for a solid 10 hours straight. It's true, I have no idea when the last time I had an entire night's sleep was, but it was well over three years ago. (Refill on this coffee, please?)
I extraordinarily value my husband. I love him to pieces. I want to stare at him and not be thinking in the back of my mind "How long do I have to wait after you come in the door before I ask you to take out the trash? Is ten minutes long enough? Fifteen?" So, even though we get to connect in the evenings after the youngins are in bed, and even though we do make an effort to get out and have a date night every so often...we are far overdue to get away and spend the night in a room that isn't resonating with the annoying static of a baby monitor. Whew.
Here's the thing. I want to go. I'm psyched out of my mind for it, really. Ideally. But...then, there's this thing called motherhood that has been nipping at my heels all week trying to get me to feel guilty about it all. Argh! What's with this? Why does this happen?
Us mamas just can't catch a break, right? It feels like no matter what decision we make, somebody is going to be let down (well, let down or have a meltdown if you are a toddler, anyway). You want to runaway with your husband and rekindle the romance, yet, you don't want to be checking your phone every twenty minutes just waiting for tragedy to strike. You want to enjoy dinner by candlelight, but not at the expense that you accidentally forgot to tell the babysitter to not give the baby milk at dinner or she will be sick. It all makes it just feel...well...not worth it! Oh the woes! What's a gal to do?
Yes, the babies will miss me. Yes, the babies will cry and scream and at one point demand more than the babysitters can provide. Yes, there will be tantrums and food will most likely be thrown. Diapers will need to be changed and tears will need to be wiped, I'm sure. But, they will be fine. They will live. And they will learn a little, tiny, minuscule piece to the puzzle of life that changes their irrational behavior into a logical example: Mom and Dad put each other first.
Any steps we take that help solidify this belief for them, the greater chance we have towards them believing this for themselves someday. Someday, that is, when they choose someone to conquer the world with. And I really, really, really want them to choose someone who will put them first, just like their daddy puts me first. (First, right after Jesus, of course.)
Leaving my kids, even only for a night, stresses the crap out of me. I'm just being honest here. I have insanely responsible friends who love my children tremendously, and my girls adore them, and probably will show them more respect in the hours they're together than they show me in a whole week...yet, my stomach tenses up at the thought of them asking for me when I'm not there. I clench up inside at the idea of them waking up in the middle of the night, disturbing our sitter's slumber, and being confused and emotional about misunderstanding why we're not at home. It might be scary for them, but I'm the one conjuring up the real fear here.
Fear NOT. Fear not. Fear...not. Okay. No fear allowed. Listen here, Fear, the girls are going to be just fine. I'm going to choose to replace you with Trust and that's going to be the end of it. I have amazing friends who, for some reason, have convinced me that it is actually a blessing to them to watch our children, so I'm going to trust them about that. I'm going to trust that my babies will know in their heart I will see them just as soon as they miss me and be back before they really can't stand it.
I'm going to trust that all the over-planning/over-cleaning/over-worrying were unnecessary, yet vital baby steps towards my ability to let go and allow some healthy separation to focus exclusively on my marriage. I'm going to trust my husband that this investment of time and money and energy and love is validated and treasured and reciprocated ten-fold, because that's what Team Pardy is all about and we've gotta long way to go in this road of life.
I'm going to trust God. Thank you, God, You are in control. Not only do you hold my babies in Your hand every day, but You also have provided the resources, the provision, and the opportunity to make this possible. I trust in the definition of marriage, that God encourages me as a wife to not only make sure my husband knows he comes first in my world, but that I teach my children (and model to them) that family is structured accordingly.
This might seem like an awful lot of intention put into one little overnight getaway. But, when it comes to our kids, don't we get a little kooky sometimes? Mothers are grand multi-taskers and the number one thing we multi-task the best is worrying! I'm not going to let my talent for concern wedge its way into Team Pardy. Instead, I'm going to steer it straight into the storm. I'm turning that worry on its head and taking all that energy and placing it directly into the palm of the One who cares more (yes, even more) than I do.
And so, yes, as I make my final checklists and sticky notes to ensure on my end the safety and schedules of my girls, I'm doing my best to remember that the underlying intention of this whole event comes back to this: I love my husband. We belong together. We can take on the world. And, so, to take on the world...we gotta step outside once in a while.