It wasn’t like we planned it this way. Weeks turned into months and then finally we realized how much time had passed. My husband Scott and I, after being parents for six years, realized we had never spent an entire night together away from our kids. Sure we had date nights and home dates and tons of times to connect but we had never had an entire 24 hours to ourselves. A whole day to make each other a priority.
I truly believe that there is no right or wrong way to parent. The “right” way is parenting the way you feel is right and that is exactly what we tried to do the last six years. We welcomed our first girl in October 2012 and we knew then and there our lives were forever changed. We never wanted to be apart from her, she brought us so much joy and believe me when I say we couldn’t find the urge to leave her, ever! We wanted her with us, and taking a trip just wasn’t on our radar at first. The same happened after my second was born. A little overwhelmed and completely smitten, the idea of leaving them both was paired with the highest anxiety so we just followed our gut.
Just 3.5 years after we first became parents we welcomed our third precious girl. With a complicated pregnancy and getting used to a new health condition, we felt we were constantly stretched thin. Leaving to spend time for our marriage wasn’t even on the radar once again. To be honest, at this time of our parenting journey, we were just grasping the idea of self care and starting to allow that time for ourselves as individuals.
As we adjusted to our new normal, we started to yearn for new experiences and travel. We undoubtedly wanted our children to experience that with us. Before we were parents we dreamed of a life where we traveled with our children and leaving without them just wasn’t an option.
We just weren’t ready. That is the best way I can explain it.
I never judged parents who took frequent vacations without their kids or even parents who never left. I truthfully didn’t think of it as a comparison game. I was just doing what was right for me and my family at that time. To be completely honest I have always felt judgement when I told people that we have never left our girls. I would sometimes get those puzzled looks or inquiring questions but most really didn’t comprehend our decision to not leave. I got the impression that they felt we didn’t make our marriage a priority. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. We just listened to our needs and followed our hearts and that is what we felt was right. Just like a parent who feels the need to have time away. It takes a lot strength and grit to truly listen to your needs with your spouse and do what you feel is right.
We love each other and in love we made the decision that brought us to this place. We knew from the beginning that this was a path we wanted to take. I even wrote it in a letter to Scott a few years ago.
Things started to change this last year. I started to travel more for work, mostly on my own, and I started to yearn for the days where I had my husband by my side on our adventures. Most don’t know that we have a trip or two under our belt. For our honeymoon we backpacked Europe and within a 4 month span we visited over 60 cities. We hoped to have those moments together again. Maybe not as grande but something small to show us how special our bond really was.
God was starting to plant seeds in my heart because he knew this was the right time for us.
I don’t know if it’s a combination of my kids getting older (and somewhat easier) or my evolution as a mother, but it started to cross my mind that a trip without our kids would be so beneficial for our marriage.
We had a few things in the works but they all fell through for one reason or another, AKA we found an excuse. Then this November I heard about an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. I was asked to go on a trip with one of my favorite companies.
To be completely honest, in true Diana fashion, I was going to bring my kids on the trip too. I really wanted my kids to have this amazing experience as well. I have shared with friends that God “gently forced” my decision to leave them home because he knew the time was right.
My media contact informed me that on this particular trip it could only be media (me) and one guest. My initial inclination was to not go, well because I only traveled with my kids, but after some long talks with my husband we decided that this was our time. the perfect time to really spend that much needed time together.
I’ve come a long way on this journey through motherhood and God has led me to this point to be truly ready for this. I do really believe that if I tried to force it or tried to leave when I wasn’t ready, I wouldn’t feel as confident and calm as I do now.
I am so excited to celebrate our 10 years of marriage by sleeping in, talking without being interrupted, and making those little inside jokes with the man who still makes my heart skip a beat. He is my everything and this trip is going to give us a chance to remind ourselves what is most important and to come back to our daughters refreshed and better than ever.