Sweet Spots and Sunsets
This is me hard at work…honestly.
All of that sitting and sunning and swimming is not really how I do vacation.
When Aidan was still young and floppy and fragile, Garreth and I went to Quebec City together. It was less of a vacation and more of an escape. I remember go, see, do. Keep moving. Don’t think of your other life, the one full of doctors and therapists and tummy time and tubes.
For our 10th anniversary we ended up taking a trip to Mexico after I told him I would rather go to Europe with my chorus. It’s more my speed and my crowd. I’m a lovely wife like that.
Vacation is such work for us. We want to make sure it’s AMAZING and MEMORABLE and MAGICAL. That, of course, is part of the problem. All of that pressure to connect on the spot. At that point in our life we didn’t have the luxury of babysitters and date nights.
Before our trip we had numerous conversations about our expectations. Garreth could sit on a beach for all eternity and not move. I love sitting on a beach but need to have an adventure too. We planned our day trips and excursions and free time meticulously. We had an amazing time.
Until we didn’t. Like the moment I started collecting trash on the beach and asked him to help me swim it back to the boat. Or that time we found a secluded beach but he was too sick yet a-freakin-gain to enjoy it. Even though it wasn’t without conflict, it was a treat to get away.
We recently found the sweet spot of our marriage; the place we feel most intimate because we are most vulnerable, most on the same team because it is so necessary, most kind and gracious and tenderhearted. It’s the hospital. We excel at medical gigs. In some marriages those trying times bring out the most tension. Not for us. We’re a blue ribbon couple at the hospital.
But that’s kind of a drag, isn’t it? It’s not exactly an event you want to plan for or look forward to. It’s hardly restorative.
So I’m happy to report that after 20 years Garreth and I have figured out how to vacation together. We went to the Gulf Coast of Florida this spring. He planned a few adventures. I sat happily on the beach. We watched the sun set and sat together in stillness. Garreth cooked fresh fish and I went to a quiet bar to have a local brew and write. We swam together. He went for early morning walks on the beach then brought me coffee in bed. We each got what we needed and it was all very easy.
But on the first day there were tears. We went to a beautiful state park where I ugly cried as all of the tourists ran by with their inner tubes and beach towel. This man, who years ago couldn’t stand the embarrassment of having the wife who collects trash on the beach, just held me. Some parents have a lot of guilt about taking vacations. Some have a lot of fear about leaving their children. I had none. This time away felt so necessary but it scared me that it was so easy to leave.
All of those feelings melted away on the pink horizon. We would return. Of course we would return to this challenging and wonderful life in Disability World. And hopefully we’ll find a new sweet spot of marriage. The one that takes place in the daily grind where there is conflict and tension and sunsets and stillness.