My husband and I refer to our first date as our marathon date. It lasted over 12 hours, included a stop at his parents’ house, my first mountain bike purchase, and drinks with his best friend. Nothing like jumping in headfirst. (Ironically, we’ve since run several marathons together, but those are never considered marathon dates!)
It’s been 14 years and two children since that first date and we still make an effort to spend chunks of time together reconnecting as a couple. We’re committed to frequent dates and shoot for an annual getaway doing something active. Just the two of us. Alone.
And so last week, Tony and I returned to the scene of our “best ever date.” We relived the “double crossing” of the Grand Canyon, where we ran from the South Rim to the North Rim, spent the night on the North Rim, and then ran back again. It was an amazing adventure with lots of great memories and nothing but each other’s company to occupy the time.
For two full days it was no kids, no work, no television, no phone. Just us. We met a retired couple who have spent the last six years driving around the country in an RV, met some marathoners from KY, and enjoyed the beauty of the Southwest. When we finished our adventure in the Canyon, we went to the movies, enjoyed good coffee, and watched television in bed (off limits in our home!).
Surprisingly, the time we spend together never includes my typical dose of mother guilt. When we take a multi-day trip away from the kids, we make every effort to ensure that they have good care, and they have a set schedule.
This time around they had the pleasure of spending the weekend with their aunt and cousins. They still had to stick to their routine, but they were rewarded with a couple of impromptu stops at Dairy Queen, and an extra late movie night with pizza. While their routine gives them the boundaries to know they are safe, the extra treats and later bed times keep it fun while Mom and Dad are gone.
Three and a half days away from the kids gave us plenty of time to reconnect doing something we both love. And that makes for a very happy couple. In the long run, happy parents make happy kids and healthy parents make healthy kids.