By Ajike Akande
Guess what, folks? Wife and I managed to get away for three whole days (4 nights) without our kiddos! We went to Las Vegas aka Sin City and the most sinful thing we did was take extra towels to provide major cushioning for the chaise lounges we glued ourselves to all day, every day. Being there was pure bliss; we literally did exactly what we wanted. The Lazy River experience was actually too much activity for us! (Do you know how hard it is to relax and float through the water in an inner tube?) Point is, we did it. We went away. Of course, we almost didn’t.
This trip had been planned since January. Wife convinced me to leave the kids to fulfill my big and admittedly questionable dream to see Celine Dion perform in Vegas. I am an out Celine fan (this was almost a deal breaker for Wife) and after careful consideration, I decided she was worth leaving my babies for. You may know that, without warning Celine Dion cancelled all of her shows from August to at least March 2015. We found out five days before we were scheduled to leave. I was so upset and quite honestly I had many friends, Facebook and otherwise, who were upset on my behalf. Look Celine, I’m all about putting one’s family first, but for you, I was prepared to put my family second!
After hearing the news about Ms. Dion, Wife and I waffled about whether or not we should actually go to Vegas or change our destination or just postpone the trip all together. Okay, only I thought we should totally cancel the trip, because without Celine, what was the point? (By the way, it is bad form to say to your partner, the day after your 8th wedding anniversary, that without Celine Dion, there is no point in going away together. Don’t say I never shared keys to relationship success!)
Added to the my mental list of reasons we should not leave the children was the age of the grandmothers who would be staying with them. You would never know to look at them and they certainly seem to forget that with their age may come possible limitations, but Nanny and Bubbie are 77 and 84 years old! After the heroic grandmas, that mothered Wife and I, convinced me that they would be fine, Wife thought that the discussion was over and we did not have to use the cancellation insurance. She is so naive. What is she, new? I was still compiling a list of reasons not to go away.
As though my lovely five-year-old twins and I had planned it, they pulled out their most obscene and off-putting behaviour in support of my quest to cancel our Vegas vacation. And yes, I do mean obscene and off-putting. There is no other way to describe it. I’m not being mean, I know they struggle with a number of things and that their undesirable behaviours are often (but not always) not on purpose, but seriously, they didn’t hold back. They did not want us to leave. In my totally-afraid-to-leave-my-kids opinion there was no way that anybody would be able to manage and support them while we were gone – even the heroic grandmas. I just didn’t think that anybody would be okay without us. We have some tricks that sometimes work to help keep the girls calm and reassured. Of course these tricks often don’t work, but we are used to their quirks. And it wasn’t just the girls I worried about. Mr. Lee has severe allergies and a really unfortunate obsession with kneading the breasts of any woman caring for him. Grandmothers are not fond of breast kneading (as far as I know). And Z, well his two settings are cartwheeling and sleeping. Unfortunately he regularly forgets to check his surroundings before kicking his legs into the air. I couldn’t risk someone suffering a cartwheel injury while we were away. Oh and F-Jammie is certain she’s an Olympic swimmer and will plunge into any water in her sight. You need to be quick with that one. Without Celine as my departure reward, leaving the kids seemed like a horrible idea.
I couldn’t even pack until about 30 minutes before we had to leave for the airport. I sat on my floor and sought Facebook friend support to manage my fears about leaving and of course, many of my lovelies came through with encouragement and suggestions regarding how much Ativan I should take and which alcoholic beverages I needed to order before boarding and while on the plane. I have really good Facebook friends. Finally, I abandoned my list of reasons not to go away, and packed up and headed to the airport with Wife.
I said all the prayers as the plane took off – oh, how I hate flying, and tried to settle into vacation mode. After an uneventful flight (prayers answered) and the arrival at a fancy hotel without a casino (ahhh, the peace) it wasn’t too hard to get into the we’re-away-without-our-kids-which-means-sleep spirit! We slept, read, ate good food and drank tasty drinks by day and enjoyed relatively calm Vegas activities by night. We saw two Cirque Du Soleil shows and Wife proposed to me again. That’s right, a second marriage proposal - no big deal. Except it was a totally big deal! My sweet asked me to marry her again in public, at a piano bar, in front of all sorts of strangers, after singing to me off key, offering a new, sparkly, sticky-uppy ring! It was amazing! I was so surprised. I am never surprised.
Okay so listen folks, here is the take away. If you are a parent, at some point you should leave your small humans. The time away will be likely be blissful and if you are parenting with another exhausted soul, who you love, the time away together will help you remember why and how the heck you ended up in this exhausting parenting predicament. Please know, however, that you will not return with a new lease on life. You will return and realize that your children are the sweetest, most miss-able, incredible people you know and all the reasons you totally needed a break from them are still there. They will be the same and you will be the same only with a hangover, I mean well rested (unless you take the red-eye home). Best part? Kiddos are almost always so much better for other people. Our little ones were no exception, which means our awesome care-giving team are able and willing to sign up to ensure that we get to have some time away again.
Thank you to Nanny, Bubbie and Tita Liza (our caregiver) for giving the kids and us a much-needed vacation. And Silverman-Akande young folk, don’t be afraid to sleep through the night for Mommy and Mama the way you did for Nanny, Bubbie and Tita while we were away. You will be appropriately rewarded for your efforts!