We're leaving tomorrow to spend a long weekend in Utah.
We'll be staying with some wonderful friends, to whom I would link as both parental units blog, but their blogs are relatively private and I haven't asked permission, so that will be retroactively hyperlinked if OK'd.
These are friends I've known since college. Truth be told, we weren't super-close for most of our time at our alma mater, but we forged a deeper friendship senior year, and I attended their wedding when I was home for a visit between my first and second years of Peace Corps. A quick mental rundown reveals them to be my only college sweetheart friends, and perhaps the friends of my generation who have been married the longest. They have always seemed so gosh-darned happy together and happy with their lives that I am at times jealous, I admit it. But that feeling is never but fleeting; mostly I am just infected by their joy and recognize that they have certainly had their peaks and valleys as we all have, if perhaps more quietly than some.
They passed through town over the summer with their daughters, who are 10 and 8. (Right?) They spent a quick night, arriving just in time for some pizza for dinner, some rides on the three-bike, some bedtime stories, and some visiting before heading out as I left for work the next day. It was time enough for Maddie and Riley to fall in love with the two older girls, who were genuine in the return of affection, and for the grown-ups to have a quick chat about the idea of a us taking a trip to see them.
And now, off we go.
This trip marks a first for me. I've never taken Maddie and Riley on a vacation that did not involve going to visit family or taking family along with me. I'm a lifelong traveler, and the idea of traveling with my children is one that captivates and excites me, but it also exhausts me. There's no relaxing when traveling with two young children on your own. It's an endless stream of logistics, and my unwillingness to undertake vacation adventures with the twins feels like one of the biggest hurdles I've faced as a single parent. If I had a coparent, I fully expect that by this time, we would have been on at least one U.S. vacation of note, and likely we would have even already been overseas. I just haven't been able to commit to anything of magnitude yet.
As Maddie and Riley get older, though, I can see that changing. This trip is a perfect trial run. The flight is short, the logistical hassles greatly reduced by staying with friends. We'll be gone only three nights. It's only one time zone.
But it's nonetheless a break in routine. Not too long ago, it would have been out of my comfort zone. Tonight, though, I'm excited to see friends and a new place, to get away, and to start to share with M&R the joys of traveling. We're all growing up.