It took impeccable timing and planning, relentless pestering of in-laws, and a miraculous alignment of celestial bodies, but it finally happened: Wife and I orchestrated an adults-only trip to the sanctuary that is the Lake of the Ozarks this past weekend. For two whole days—well, one full day and two half days—six adults with a total of seven children among them were allowed to unload the kids and gather at an isolated location where alcohol was consumed in earnest and cursing was slung with gusto by all in attendance.

And it was glorious.

The six of us live within a ten-minute radius and manage to see each other at least once a month, but the plans usually center on a child’s birthday party or holiday and are typically cut short by one of the Munchkins doing something he or she shouldn’t have done. For us all to pull the right strings to procure babysitters at the same time is nothing short of divinity. All the kids stayed with grandparents for the weekend, so we knew they would be safe. Each of us doffed the parenting hat for a couple short days and just did…well, we did absolutely nothing.

A vacation with children can be anything but relaxing, so it was a strange and welcome experience to just hang out, play games, talk, swim, sit by the water, and eat with other adults. And, of course, talk about your kids.

It’s impossible to turn the parenting switch off. But being able to set it on Do Not Disturb for a short time is really all you need to recharge and realize how much you love and miss your children when they’re not around.

By the time we picked them up Sunday evening, children and parents alike were ecstatic to be together again. Seeing Boo toddle up to me with outstretched arms and a big, toothy grin was almost enough to make me wonder why I would ever want to spend more than eight hours a day away from him. And hearing Bubby regale us with the tales of all that happened with Grandma and Papa was almost enough to make me forget how his incessant chattering is sometimes a little overwhelming for an introvert like myself. We’ve all heard the adages about absence making hearts grow fonder and familiarity breeding contempt. When it comes to my kids, I might change them to read something like Absence reminds your brain what your heart already knows and Familiarity breeds rampant frustration and temporary insanity, but the gist remains.

At the end of the day—or of the weekend, in this case—a break from the boys is good for everyone. It helps revitalize Mom and Dad, enabling them to confront whatever bad habits the kids picked up from their grandparents; it also gives the kids a break from yet another boring weekend at home with the same toys they always play with. It’s a win-win.

 

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