If you read my post back at New Year’s, then you may remember that 2012 is my self-proclaimed “year of fun.” And two months in, I think I’m doing a fairly decent job of making good on that resolution.
For example, I’ve been making a real effort to make plans with people I don’t know that well but who I really like, which has been fun. I’ve started taking a dance class every week, which is super fun. And this past weekend, I took my son on a mother/son weekend getaway, which was the absolute most fun.
The idea for the trip came about because, every year, my husband takes my daughter on a father/daughter ski trip. About a month ago, as they were discussing it at the dinner table and I was feeling jealous that they got to take a fun trip while my son and I stayed home and did nothing, it occurred to me that staying home with my son and doing nothing was not the only option. We should take a trip the weekend they go away, I told him. His eyes lit up. Can we? Absolutely, I told him. And let’s go somewhere fun.
The truth is, my son and I don’t get to spend a lot of alone time together. As the second child, he never got the benefit of having me all to himself the way my daughter did for the two and a half years before her brother was born. And when he did come along, I was so preoccupied with my demanding two year-old that I didn’t get to really enjoy him as a baby or a toddler. I hate to admit this, but I hardly even remember him as a baby or a toddler. And even as he’s gotten older, it still feels sometimes like he gets the short end of my attention stick. It often feels to both of us that I’m helping my daughter with her homework whenever he wants to play a board game with me, or that I’m running out to get something she needs when he asks me if I want to play football in the backyard. Part of it, too, is just the gender difference. I’d rather watch American Idol with my daughter than suffer through an episode of Pokemon with my son, and I’m more inclined to take her shopping or to get mani/pedis than I am to go watch the UCLA baseball team take batting practice. So it just happens naturally sometimes that he goes off with my husband on a Saturday afternoon while I team up with my daughter. But still, that doesn’t make it okay. So when the opportunity came up for this trip, it seemed like a great way for us to spend some much needed time alone together, and also, if I’m being totally honest, to help assuage my guilt.
Anyway, thanks to the miracle of frequent flier miles and American Express points, four weeks later we were sitting on a beach in Mexico, drinking virgin Pina Coladas and snickering about how the other half of our family was drinking hot cocoa and wearing toe warmers in their ski boots. And in keeping with my resolution, we did have fun. We played in the pool, we tossed around a football on the beach, we sat on lounge chairs while I read a book and he played on his iTouch. We marveled at the sunset at dinner, we ate lots of super junky desserts, we snuggled and watched movies in bed, and we slept as late as we wanted to. I joked that we had a romantic weekend away, but we kind of did, just with a different type of romance. My son and I got to fall in love with each other in a really special way, that was only possible through one-on-one time together. Without my daughter interrupting him, he got to take his time telling me stories. Without her yelling at him or teasing him, he got to be himself in a way that he rarely can. And without me having to referee or yell at him for bothering her or discipline him for fighting with her, I got to be his mom in a way that I haven’t been in a long time. It was a really fun trip, but it was also so much more than that.
On the flight home, I asked him what his favorite part of the weekend was. I thought he would say eating the banana split we ordered one night, or getting to play on his iTouch as much as he wanted. He responded immediately, without even missing a beat. Hanging out with you, he said matter-of-factly, as if there couldn’t possibly be another answer. I think we’re going to make this trip an annual one.