By the time we had arrived at our relaxing getaway - a quaint bed and breakfast in a small, coastal town on the shores of Lake Michigan, I was beyond elated. Just us, no responsibility, no work, no chores, a honeymoon revival.
I intentionally chose a walkable town, so we parked the car and explored on foot. We ate when we were hungry, we entered whatever stores looking interesting, we doubled back at will, we popped back to our room to freshen up, we drank craft beers without concern.
Our spring trip occurred before tourist season had started, so even though it was a chilly and many stores still closed, we basically had the town to ourselves, open sidewalks, no waits at restaurants, the only customers at an amazing used bookstore.
Yes, in true Matt and Jacqueline fashion, we found a bookstore on our romantic getaway and bought a stack of books. Then we went back the next day and bought a second stack.
I can't even pick one favorite thing. It was really fun to be responsibility-free, to be distraction-free, to be able to start, enjoy, and finish a conversation over a hot plate of delicious food. It was fun to wear pretty skirts (with leggings underneath for warmth) and dangly earrings, to do my hair and makeup in the morning, It was fun to be spoiled by my husband and have him buy me fancy Amish cheese. It was fun to linger over the menu, over drinks, over something funny in a store. It was fun to leave a cup on the night table, to put something down and have it still be there when I returned, to have our room remain clean. It was fun to walk around town with a hot mocha in one hand and Matt's hand in my other.
It was deliriously awesome, the kind of fun that had Matt and I turning to each other every hour with a kiss and enthusiastic, "This is so much fun!" But as much fun as I was having, I really missed my kids. Everything reminded me of them, I worried about them at bedtime, I called to talk to them each day of the two days we were gone. I was having such an amazing time, but I was still missing my babies.
But it was good, it was very good, and it was very needed. My attention is on them all day every day. It was good for my marriage to give it all my attention for longer than one date night. Date nights are to relationships as paydays are to bank accounts. Romantic getaways are like Christmas bonuses.
I left a short story in the guest log. A one-page paper trail full of anticipation, eagerness, uncertainty, and finally, satisfaction.
Coming home was bittersweet. It was hard coming back to normal life, to responsibilities, chores, messy bedrooms, shoes scattered across the living room. But the work brings with it immense joys. I felt emotional, but also overwhelmed with happiness at my refilled marriage, gratefulness for the support of family watching the kids and friends watching the pets, thankfulness for the ability to afford a trip, and pure joy at how much love I had for my family and how much love they have for me. I squeezed our magnet onto the fridge in the line of our other souvenir magnets - I smile every time I see, remembering the little farmers market we were at, a hot chocolately coffee in one hand and the hand of the man I love in the other.