As a married couple, it’s important to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes that’s hard when you have children. The more you have, the harder it is to find that time away to dedicate to each other. Finding time for a getaway is next to impossible. Add a child with Autism to the mix, and that time away becomes even more rare and precious. Even with a respite worker, there’s so much planning ahead that has to be done, that we don’t often take advantage of it. I’ve called a few times to ask for respite, only to find that she’s not available. And then when she is available, the babysitter isn’t. So much for date night!
Friday, my husband took off work and made me think he was playing hooky. I knew that we were going to my parents’ house for a cookout and that we were boarding the dog. It was not like him to call in sick without actually being sick, but I knew we had to take his car to the shop, so I figured he just called in sick so we could take care of his car and do what we had to do. I didn’t find out until we were on the way to my parents’ house that he had actually made reservations at a hotel for us and that the kids were staying with my parents. My mom was in on the whole thing and they had kept this secret from me, so when she called to ask me to come for this cookout thing, it was all part of the scheme.
I could not be more thankful for the time we got to spend away from the kids to reconnect with each other. I think we forgot how fun it could be to be around each other. Just being able to talk without being interrupted, go where we wanted to go, eat our food without having to drag a kid out from under the table or take one outside, not listen to screaming, and just be able to hear each other speak, is something to behold. The tension is low, our voices are kinder, and we’re more apt to listen to each other.
My husband says I’m a different person without the kids around. I’m sure that’s true. Being a mom forever changes who we are. And for me, as a mom, I’m almost always alert and tense. Especially being an Autism mom. When things are quiet, I’m worried about why they’re quiet. What’s wrong? What’s he into? What are they doing? Are they safe? When it’s loud, my senses are all out of whack (I think I have some sensory issues, too). When it’s meltdown time, I’m frustrated and anxious trying to find a way to get him through it so we can all relax. Everyone gets tense during meltdowns because we never know who is going to get hurt. And then there’s Big Guy to deal with–God help us if he’s tired or, worse, hungry. He cries and pouts and throws a pretty good fit himself. So yeah, things are different without kids. Now, I’m not saying they’re always a chore. I love my kids. We planned both of them and I sure as heck wouldn’t have decided to have another one if I didn’t enjoy the first one. But, you know what I mean. These are the stressors that get in the way of relationships sometimes.
So, to my husband, thank you for planning this impromptu getaway. I loved our little retreat. To my parents, thank you so much for taking care of our boys for us. I know it seemed a bit ludicrous that The Manager typed out a huge instruction sheet for how to take care of our children, but you know that’s how we roll. I think I love him even more for doing that, and I appreciate you following our routine. It was totally awesome!So yes, we enjoyed our time together. It was wonderful. We went shopping (bought way too many books), went to the movies twice (World War Z and This is the End), ate at The Cheesecake Factory and Ruth Chris, and did lots of walking. At the end of the day, we got to lie down in a nice comfy bed at whatever hour we wanted and sleep until whenever we wanted to get up. And I’ve gotta say, that was probably the biggest luxury. Sleeping in.