On Saturday evening we packed up everything, hopped in the car and drove three and a half hours up north to the house my parents have on a lake in a city you've likely never heard of before hidden in rural Central Florida. My desire to just get away was so great that I purposefully left my camera and computer at home. (I mean, I couldn't stay off Instagram but we all have our vices.) My husband turned his work e-mail off of his Blackberry and we just were, the three of us, for a little while. I drove thirty minutes to find a brush with half-straightened, matted hair and was called fancy by a well-meaning cashier who once had a niece who lived on a golf course in the city we live in. Ethan watched as a woodpecker woke us up each morning, tap-tap-tapping at the tall glass window over the staircase. We took advantage of the 68 degree weather that we don't get back home by putting on our hoodies and braving the frigid weather for a quick walk down the dock, counting the spiders weaving sticky webs across the railing. Ethan and I collected fall leaves that actually turn colors, a little bit, to bring back home with us when palm fronds don't really cut it anymore. And despite the fact that daylight savings time did nothing but make my child insist that four in the morning was a suitable wake up time, it was nice.
I'm admittedly not the best at relaxing. My husband presented me with a freshly assembled hammock underneath the trees on a beautiful, dimly lit fall day and I had every intention of just closing my eyes and dozing off but it didn't happen. It didn't even come close. But the plus to being out in the middle of nowhere is even if you don't know how to relax, you eventually run out of options.
Months ago now, I was waiting out a car nap and mindlessly surfing the internet on my phone when I saw that by some stroke of luck and genius, my husband's favorite band and my favorite band were both touring together. It was a tiny tour with only one Florida stop in Orlando (three hours from us). I hadn't seen my favorite band live since 2003 and something felt like it was missing in our lives where this could actually be a beautiful and viable option. Despite my husband's reluctance and rationalization of the logistics of this grand idea, I knew it was truly grand. And I knew this evening drowning in the music that brought us together as two crazy high school kids who could hold their own down in the pits -- which has been replaced by "oh, my back hurts from so much standing," if you're wondering -- was what we needed as people and not just parents. After all, we're coming up on a year since our last (and only) other date night since Ethan has been alive on this planet. It was time. When a couple of our best friends (who, allow me to gloat, married one another after I meddled enough to awkwardly set them up with one another while we were all at work on the same shift) offered to babysit Ethan for the evening, I surprised my husband with tickets. He held onto that hesitation a little bit. But then this happened:
And as I stood there realizing my favorite band playing my favorite song can still make me cry in a good way as much as it did when I was a mixed up fourteen year old emotional basketcase, I got a text message from our friends saying that Ethan was sound asleep in his cot with zero issues and to have a good time without worries. So we did.
I let Ethan chug two glasses of cow's milk this morning which resulted in Exorcist-style spewing all over the lobby of First Watch as the horrified hostess looked on and lost all of the color in her face. As quickly as that attempted breakfast date began, it ended and we were on our way barreling towards home with the desire at that point to only get out of that car. It was bittersweet to return home. The weather is warmer and it rained all evening and my kid hasn't slept correctly since it started getting dark at five o'clock but I feel more refreshed than I have in a while. I guess unplugging and escaping reality for a while will do that to you. Noted.