After weeks of planning, fretting, praying, and packing – my husband and I boarded a plane for Hawaii and left our two children behind. This was our first trip alone since our children were born. Go big or go home, right?
I didn’t want to spring the trip on them the morning we were leaving, but I also didn’t want to tell them too far in advance. So three days before we left, I told them about our adventure over dinner. They asked a few questions, but when they realized we weren’t leaving that night, they moved on. Over the next few days, they had a few more questions (mostly about who would make them lunch and would they have to miss a birthday party). Once Saturday arrived, my dad took all of us to the airport. We thought it would be best for them to come with us and less upsetting. We had planned for my dad to take them to get donuts after leaving the airport to ease the separation. Donuts heal all wounds, you know. There were a few tears from everyone involved, but we hugged, kissed, and said good-bye. Once we got through security and I got a text from my dad saying they were happy and tear-free, the real vacation began!
Hawaii was everything and more. It is the most beautiful place I have ever been… the flowers, the sun, the beach, the breathtaking views. It truly is paradise. Even more amazing – your cell phone works, the currency is the same, and everyone speaks English. It is like visiting another country with all the comforts of home. During the trip, we would Skype with my mom and the children, which definitely helped us all. My mom and friends would send pictures of the kiddos at school or at basketball. We mailed postcards to them each day. While I missed them, knowing they were in perfect hands allowed me to enjoy each moment of our trip. After all that stressing and worrying, everything turned out great and we all survived and even thrived!
So, in case you are all wondering, here are my Top Ten thoughts on traveling without children:
- You can actually read a book at the beach for hours on end without a single interruption.
- You can grab a Starbucks from the lobby and quietly watch the sunrise each morning. Emphasis on “quietly!”
- You can go to dinner at fancy restaurants and not worry if there is a kid’s menu.
- You can walk through the airport without a stroller, a diaper bag, or a tired child. You feel so light! It’s incredible.
- You can watch any movie you want to on the airplane. It doesn’t have to be animated–unless you just really want it to be.
- You can take a rafting trip to see whales and visit a secluded beach. Alone.
- You can spend all day at the pool or driving to see a lighthouse without checking the clock, and with no whining.
- You don’t have to make breakfast, lunch, or dinner for anyone!
- You can go shopping and take your time. You can even go into a dressing room alone.
- And finally, you come home a better parent after relaxing and recharging.
This was a trip of a lifetime and the memories we made were priceless. At the same time, my parents got to spend valuable time with my children and made precious memories as well. It was a win-win for everyone. While my husband and I don’t plan to take week long getaways to exotic places every year, we now know that we can and that everyone will be ok! Amen to that!