As you read this, I am sunning myself on the deck of a floating cabin. Perhaps I have a cold drink in my hand, or WAIT, even better, a gigantic bowl of ice cold berries. Maybe I am reclined on a chaise, listening to a silence broken only by the lake gently lapping at the shore
Orrrrr maybe Adam and I are slowly tearing each other limb from limb as the reality of being alone, with only each other and a dwindling food supply for TEN DAYS is slowly sinking in. Whose idea was this? (Mine! Oh dear god it was mine!)
Anyway. Regardless of which situation is unfolding at the present moment, I have thoughtfully pre-written several posts to roll out in my absence. Because Internets, I’m a giver. Never forget that. I’ll be back on the 18th.
When I first broached the topic of a “BabyMoon” with Adam, I didn’t call it a BabyMoon. Saying that word makes me vomit in my mouth and I’ve had quite enough of that thank you very much.
I think I described it as a getaway, a time to celebrate three separate occasions – our third wedding anniversary, our tenth year together as a couple, and a sort of last hurrah before Demon baby makes her grand entrance into this world.
When I pitched it I knew I had several things working in my favour, the most immediate of which was that instead of sweating over finding a way to mark three separate occasions, Adam would be able to bundle them up into one simple trip and BOOM, be done with it! Given this as an option, the likelihood of him agreeing to it increased tenfold.
Why do I have to sneakily plan my approach this way, you may well be asking? Because Adam is a bit of a workaholic. Partly by choice and partly by necessity, my man spends altogether too much time at work, working, thinking about work, stressing about work, and sometimes dreaming about it. I can read it etched into his face and the slope of his shoulders.
Small business owners are people the most deserving of vacations, but they’re also the most likely to know that stifling feeling that everything will simply fall apart in their absence, making vacations seems like an impossibility. Thus I have to plan our trips like ambushes, broaching their existence at strategic moments, pitching their benefits like Don Draper debuting a new advertising campaign to an unimpressed client.
Meanwhile if the roles were reversed, Adam wouldn’t get past saying “So I was thinking we could take a few days off and- ” before I’d be been standing at the door, bags in hand.
Just one of the many, many, many, (many) ways we differ.
For this vacation, I really wanted it to be just Adam and I. Despite the fact that we’ve been together ten years and are pretty rock solid, our baby’s impending arrival has me a bit nervous about it’s potential impact on our relationship.
What will happen to us when we stop being Maddie and Adam and morph instead into Mom and Dad? I’ve heard the first year can be rough and I have no doubt that this generalization will hold true for us as well. I’m not naive enough to think that nothing will change, nor am I disillusioned enough to think that a baby will bring us closer. (Not initially anyway.)
Anyone who has the great misfortune of being around me in the early morning knows that I am not a very kind or tolerant person when I haven’t had enough sleep, and even an idiot knows that newborn babies= zero sleep, ever, ever again for the rest of your life so help you god amen.
Knowing this, I wanted this trip to function as insulation, a sort of protective buffer zone where we could spend a huge chunk of uninterrupted time simply enjoying each others company before the shit hits the fan. A chance to build up goodwill and happy memories to summon up when I am up to my elbows in baby poop at three in the morning, cursing Adam’s very existence while I sob softly into Demon Baby’s chubby neck.
(Seriously, this is what I’m envisioning based on the “Just you wait…!” horror stories other moms have been telling me. Am I really that far off?)
So yeah. My plan was basically to save our marriage before it’s even in trouble. But this was my secret, my subterfuge and while I was planning this strange memory-banking expedition, Adam had plans of his own.
“Why don’t we invite your family?” he said one night as we watched a movie, “Or some friends?”
I paused the movie and stared at him. “Why would we do that?” I asked.
“I don’t know” he replied offhandedly, eyes still on the screen, “It might get boring just the two of us, don’t you think?”
I was a little hurt and more than a little offended. Obviously I’m not the “fun one” in this couple, but I can hold up my end of a conversation!
I stared at him levelly for several minutes without saying anything. Within a few moments he’d started backpedaling.
“I mean I love you, I love hanging out with you, but come on – ten days? I mean, not that it wouldn’t be awesome to hang out with you – JUST you – for all ten of those days but I thought that we should invite people, I mean even for just part of the time just to be nice…I mean, they’ve never been to the cabin or anything so I was just thinking….”
He trailed off while I continued glaring. Then I pressed play and restarted the movie and this is the universal marriage signal for “This conversation is OVER”, and our evening carried on as though nothing had happened.
Then that night after we had brushed our teeth and I had wedged myself into the sort of pillow fort I’ve had to construct in order to get comfortable as of late – one pillow between my knees, another under my arms and of course my old-lady ergonomic neck pillow under my head – and I started thinking.
Just the two of us.
For ten days.
I started wondering when the last time was that we spent that much time together. I wracked my brain trying to recall vacations past. There was last years trip to Hawaii for a friends wedding, but that was only a week and we were surrounded by people the entire time – our friends, their family, waiters, other hotel guests, people on the streets and in the stores. Same situation when we went on our honeymoon, same deal when we took a road trip to Seattle.
As I lay there delving ever further into our shared history I felt a cold sweat creep over me.
Oh god, had it EVER been just Adam and I, for even two days, let alone ten?
My pulse quickened at the twin thoughts that 1) This trip might turn out to be the death of my relationship as I knew it, and 2) That Adam might be right. I honestly didn’t know which was worse.
So the next day, unbeknownst to Adam I composed a quick email to my family, inviting them to the cabin. Over the next few days I made a few phone calls to friends, too. Surely the lure of a pleasantly secluded floating cabin off the coast of BC would be impossible to refuse!
No one could make it.
It was short notice, people had already made other plans, even my family – usually a ragtag bunch perfectly suited for last-minute invites like these- was alarmingly uniform in sending their regrets.
So now, three days before we leave I sit staring at this bizarre situation that I’ve created.
I have planned an entire trip in order to preserve and commemorate a reality that has never actually existed! We will be celebrating just the two of us when it has never, ever, in all of our ten years been just the two of us.
I lay there and had to laugh at this ridiculousness, this irony. And despite all of my high-drama hyperbole, I have no doubt that we will fill this time with conversation and laughter and make memories that will sustain us for years, if not decades, to come.
I can guarantee that when that last vacation day rolls around and it’s time to pack up and go home, we’ll be tearing ourselves away from this self-imposed isolation craving more silence, more stillness.
After all, if not now, when?
But I think that this realization, this awareness that we have never been alone, never just the two of us, has morphed this trip into something new, given it a new purpose.
It has taken the cold terror that sits in my heart as I lay awake in these months before baby and worry about what will happen to us when we’re not “just us” anymore, and replaced it with the comforting truth that it never was.