The redhead will PLAY!
And that’s what she did the first time we left our sweet baby girl with my parents for 24 hours. She was 18 months, I’d stopped breastfeeding the month prior, and we’d been dreaming of a little getaway for the two of us for some time.
But where would we go? What would we do? And–more importantly–who could we con into watching her? The promise of some summer East Coast business trips that didn’t pan out had me drooling–and I mean DROOLING–over the prospect of a cross-country flight ALL. BY. MYSELF. Just me, a window seat, a gigantic stack of magazines, maybe a cocktail (or two), and zero responsibility for another human being other than myself. I didn’t care that most of the weekend would’ve actually been eaten up by travel time; I longed, ached even, to get on that plane. You mamas know what I’m talking about.
But when it came down to it, we really wanted to spend what little time we had together, not slingshot-ed back and forth across the country in a metal tube. And when we fortuitously got our hands on a copy of Phoenix Magazine’s summer staycation issue, we thought YES. Spending the night at a local resort meant our total travel investment would be 30 minutes max, and yet we could feel like we were miles away if we settled on a part of town other than own. We’d be nearby in case of emergency–and for everybody’s peace of mind.
So we sold the idea to my parents–and promptly booked a room at the Arizona Biltmore before they could change their minds (come to think of it, we may have booked the room first and then crossed our fingers they’d say yes). But no matter. It was actually happening.
Emily didn’t have the best week leading into it, which made me all the more excited about our 24-hour vaca…and nervous that she’d give her caretakers a horrible time and we’d never get to do anything like this ever again. But our tantrum-happy tot was nothing but smiles and giggles for Grandma and Grandpa–and she was so busy playing that I’m not even sure she missed us all that much.
As the very wise Molly Wizenberg of Orangette said of leaving her toddler behind on her book tour: I want her to have sturdy attachments to people who aren’t her parents. We’re blessed with grandparents, aunts, uncles–our entire immediate family actually (on both sides!!)–in the state (most within a 15-minute radius of our house). And she looooves her “nanas” and “pas” and aunties and uncles and cousin “Dan Dan.” They say it takes a village. THIS is her village. And why we can never leave AZ.
I’m not sure who had more fun. Her? Us?? The grandparents??? I can speak for myself (and Eric) that while we missed our darling girl (and talked about her frequently, as we’re wont to do on date nights ), it was a nice change of pace not to be “Mom” and “Dad” for 24 hours. I wore high heels. No one flung food at me. I didn’t have to plan my day around anyone’s nap schedule (other than my own). There was a dive-in movie and lobster rolls at a swim-up bar. We even went down the water slide a few times for the heck of it. I had a mimosa at breakfast.
I’m not sure we would’ve fully appreciated the staycation experience pre-kid. But, wow, post-kid, it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.
And we were glad to see our little redheaded ray of sunshine the next day. She was so excited to show us where she slept (Hey! Did you know there’s a special sleeping room at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s?? No? OK then, I’ll show you and pretend to tuck you in for the next 20 minutes.). She and I had a better week that week. And that
staycation vacation feeling happily lingered…
PS: A GIGANTIC thank you to my amazing parents. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Emily’s lucky to have such awesome grandparents!
PPS: For the other 364 days of the year: THIS