Alone time. Peace and quiet. Some time away. Escaping the madness.
Call it what you will, but in every parent’s cycle, there comes that time when Daddy needs a break. A break from the constant needs of others. A break from pretending to have all the answers. A break from the dawn-to-dusk fever pitch that is life with two kids in the house. I know you know what I’m talking about.
It’s the Gloria Gaynor “I Will Survive” disco drum beat that begins the day as the alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m., jolting me to hit the gym in the wee morning hours before the crazy starts. Then it’s the mad scramble to get breakfast eaten/dogs walked/teeth brushed/appropriate clothing chosen (more on that later)/homework completed/permission slips signed/kids loaded into the car/last minute grab of forgotten item/mad dash to school drop-off/mad dash to Starbucks for fuel/mad dash to the office for that 8 a.m. management meeting. Yeah, that’s all before the workday even starts. You hear me – you know you do.
This is the shrill pitch of parental life that causes us to push through our days like a car whose gas gauge is blinking red on empty, but we’ve got just two five more miles to go.
Recently, that car broke down (meaning me, not the car). Triton could see it in my eyes – that hyper-caffeinated, wide-eyed stare where I am taking in my full field of vision but not really focused on a flippin’ thing. I’m so lucky he gets me.
So we planned a weekend getaway for a quick visit to La Quinta Resort, one of our favorite places to bake out the crazy in the hot Palm Springs sun. I had already conjured the poolside images, could feel the nub of the terry cloth mashed into the side of my face as I lay on the lounge chair, an umbrella drink as my new best friend.
The spa pool at La Quinta is delicious. And no, that is not me in the pink hat, silly. I look better in blue.
I mentally made massage appointments in La Quinta’s world-class spa, and mused on menu choices (steak or lobster? hmm, why not both?) at their most excellent signature restaurant, Morgan’s. In the hazy distance, I could sense the kids were there somewhere, swimming or engrossed in their iPhones. Triton would be sitting nearby, bingeing on back episodes of Homeland. This was the kind of mini-vacay where we would never have to leave the resort all weekend long.
But this was not to be.
Evidently, the girls forgot to tell us that Friday night was the Spring Dance at their middle school. Sophia pleaded a compelling case for this, her last dance as an eighth-grader before she and her friends scattered to different high schools. It worked, and we caved. I watched the scenes of palm trees and blue pools dry up, as talk turned to mall trips for new party dresses.
Sophia and her gang all gussied up for the big dance
But wait! Why not go anyway? BY MYSELF. After I pondered the ridiculousness of this thought, it started to seem less and less ridiculous. Could I actually take an entire weekend for myself, and go away from my family to be alone with no one to talk to and no distractions? Would I be able to relax, or would my brain spin me out of control, wonky from untethered thoughts and no one to bounce them back into reality? Well, we would see. Because I needed this. Badly.
So I set off for a different location – Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa. It felt somehow wrong to go to our family’s retreat at La Quinta without the rest of us, and I was drawn to the crunchy spirituality of a new location.
You know what? It was pretty darn great! The drive there was odd and a bit lonely, as the two and a half hours in the car gave me plenty of time to waver between doubt and elation. But the bliss far outweighed the concerns.
It worked too. By the time I arrived back home on Sunday, I was pumping out the zen. I floated into the house, hugged Triton and the kids, made a peaceful dinner and had a beautiful night’s sleep free from stress and anxiety.
And then it was Monday.