Daddy Talk: Get Out of Here
We just took a much-needed break. A few weeks ago, a cousin of mine got married in Providence, Rhode Island, so Ashley and I planned to make a long weekend of it. We got some plane tickets for a good price way in advance, reserved a rental car in New York, and made arrangements for my mother-in-law to keep our four and six-year old boys. After all, if you’re going to take a getaway, it takes more than advanced planning—it takes the support of family and friends as well.
For five days, we enjoyed the autumn of the Northeast. We meandered in Greenwich Village, took an open-air trolley tour of Newport, RI, and enjoyed time with family at a beautiful wedding ceremony near Brown University in Providence. It was a refreshing change of pace from our daily lives. Did I mention that we took our twenty-two-month old daughter with us?
Not the refreshing getaway you were picturing? To be honest, we had the chance to leave Lydia with her brothers. My mother-in-law graciously offered to keep her as well, but in the end, we figured that leaving her would add more strife to my mother-in-law’s weekend than it would to ours. Plus, the airlines will let kids sit in your lap for free before they turn two years old. We were also persuaded by a long text message from my sister who argued that she, as well as the rest of the family, was dying to see Lydia.
Even though our vacation could have been, in some ways, more restful if we had left our daughter at home, I’d argue that bringing a kid along also pays some huge dividends. Bringing them along to places where you may initially hesitate forces you to view the experience differently, maybe even discover the locations in a new way because you get to watch your child discover alongside you. (This was especially fun with an almost-two-year old, who is thrilled to RIDE anything—a plane, a shuttle bus, the subway, a trolley, a rental car—all of it was a new adventure.) In our case, taking Lydia also allowed us to share individual time with our third child. When does that EVER happen? She’s never had the chance to be alone with her parents, or so it seems. I know that she won’t remember the trip later on when she’s older, but I hope that somehow our family bond matured in some unconscious way.
But really, “getting away” doesn’t have to be a thousands-of-miles weekend excursion. It could be a half-day visit to a nearby state park, or it could be spent in town doing some fun local attractions. I think the important thing is that it’s planned ahead and that the family knows that it’s for having fun together. If you’re like me, you’ll also need to plan ahead simply for your own sanity. I want to know all the details—how much time the event(s) will take, how much money we’ll spend, and what sort of kinks could happen during the day. But if I’ve considered those things in advance, I don’t tend to stress over the details that come later…even if the details include a small child determined to scan her own metrocard at a subway turnstile underneath Manhattan.
It’s already November. If you have kids in school and involved in other activities as well, you’re long past due for a break in the routine. Do a favor for yourself and for your family, and get out of here for awhile.
Tim Krason and his wife, Ashley, live in Clinton with their three children. They are both teachers, but they try not to bring too much of their paper grading home with them.