All of you readers who have extended family living nearby might just laugh at this post, because it may not be that out of the ordinary for you. But for those of us who see our families maybe once a year, you know this is a special event.
Yesterday, Jeremy and I "got away" and left Miriam in the combined care of Grandpa/Grandma and my brother Blair and his wife and kids. This was the first time since Miriam was born that I've spent a night away from her. In fact, I think the longest stretch of time I've been away from her before this was somewhere around 6 hours, but it's always been during the day. Unless you count the time I was sick with norovirus and puking my guts out all night, and recently recovered Jeremy had to take care of sick Miriam for probably 8 hours. On second thought, let's not count that.
For a getaway, ours might seem pretty cheapskate and lame, at least on the surface. We had looked into several options for a fun mini-vacation, including the Columbia Gorge, the Oregon Coast (where we had our honeymoon), and downtown Portland. But as you might have guessed, all of these options, while totally awesome, were also very expensive.
In the end, we ended up using my dad's Intel discount to get a cheap rate at a Homestead Suites less than 3 miles from my home. We used free movie tickets we got at Christmas (yes, it's been that long since we've been to the movies) to go see the new Indiana Jones movie, and then went back to the hotel and warmed up leftover stew we brought from home in the kitchenette. The most luxurious part? Eating dinner, on the bed, while watching TV. This meant: no monitoring a tiny person's food intake and not having to urge on every bite, no sitting at the table until everyone was finished (as nice as family dinners are, you have to admit it's wonderful to have a break), and enjoying the choice of a few dozen channels instead of just three. Heavenly.
In the morning we walked to IHOP for breakfast and then went to a bookstore and read the first chapter of Breaking Dawn from the new special edition of Eclipse. When we went to pick up Miriam at my brother's house, she hardly looked up from playing with Play-Doh to greet us. It was as if we hadn't left her at all.
Even though it was only 24 hours, it was a much-needed break from real life and from the daily tedium of taking care of a 2.75-year-old. I'm not saying that walking Miriam through the bedtime routine tonight is going to be a fantastically new and awesome chore to me, but at least I'll have had a small reminder of what life is like without kids.