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March 04, 2009

Keep the Fires Burning

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One of the things that I find toughest about being a parent sometimes is the effect that it has had on my relationship with my husband. Not that we have a bad relationship, but having a good relationship takes time, and with four little kids, time is something we really don't have a lot of. We don't have family that can reliably watch our kids very often, and although we have a Manny, he has other things that take his time, sometimes for an extended period of time when he has a show that goes into a long run. But my husband and I are committed to modeling a strong relationship for our kids, so we do what we can to have time to ourselves. Only twice have we been away by ourselves without our kids for longer than a few hours, the most recent time being last weekend. But it's something we're sure to do a lot more often - as often as we can swing it logistically and financially. It's worth the effort.

We went to Berkeley Springs, WV, a short couple of hours drive from here, and rented an adorable cottage that was both private and right in the middle of town. It was far enough away that we got a good break from our home life, but close enough that we could get back in a hurry if we were needed. We walked everywhere. We saw movies and ate great food and slept in and stayed up all night and basically got to act like we used to more than a decade ago, before we were married. We didn't get to do much hiking or partake of any of the spa services for which the town is famous (George Washington bathed there), but we went to art galleries and talked. It was glorious. We connected on a level that we haven't in ages, really, a level that I don't think we could have reached without the wisdom, respect, and trust that come with years of shared experience.

We only had minor concerns about whether or not the reason for the trip would actually work. The baby did fine while we were gone, and it's been a rough week since we've been back, but I can safely say now that he's successfully weaned. The trip worked. I have mixed feelings about closing that chapter of my life, but that's to be expected. Six years of breastfeeding plus three years of pregnancy is more than enough dedication of my body to the survival of someone else.

My husband and I are making plans to go away again as often as we can reasonably manage it. The benefits to our family have been pronounced. We're both more relaxed, patient, and energized. We've demonstrated to our kids that we are important to each other, and that taking time for one another is a priority. And that's worth its weight in gold.

Original DC Metro Moms post. When she's not slipping away with her husband and then telling the world about it, Mary/FishyGirl blogs at The Fish Pond.

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