There are a variety of reasons for me to up and leave town this time of year, and I realize that someone who’s not married to a tax professional might not understand that. It’s not as though I don’t have a husband during this time of year; contrary to so many women (and some men) who live without military spouses for long periods of time, Tony mostly comes home every night for dinner, I still have to do his laundry, and the kids still have contact with him for a couple of hours each night. If Tony were simply gone, I might not feel the need to leave at all. But when we’re here, and he has more and more work as we march on to April 15, I know that having us waiting for him every night, demanding his attention away from work, is stressful.
I try to respect the fact that he loves his job, feels an intense amount of responsibility and duty to his clients, and is only working these crazy, long, stressful hours for a short period of time each year. So we leave to give him a break from the demands of family.
We also leave because, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to appreciate my girlfriends in new and needy ways. No one likes to be needy, but I am, and I’m happy to admit it. I made some amazing friends in college and I can’t wait to see them every year. They’re not married, don’t have children, and are surprisingly understanding of the fact that I can’t get away to see them with any frequency. They can offer intimate, intellectual conversation at a time when I’m not getting any at home.
And there’s just something special about seeing the women who are important to me interact and love my children for a weekend.
There’s also something very rewarding when one of your best friends says to you, on the last night of your visit after the kids are finally asleep, “Amelia, you have a tough job.” I can write about it here, the travails of raising a strong-willed boy and of giving enough attention to his undemanding younger brother, but I guarantee that it’s a whole different perspective to witness it in person. Sometimes there are entire days without tantrums but it’s still exhausting for me, gently reigning in impulses, driving children in the right direction, teaching, disciplining… and other days are fraught with terrible meltdowns and defiance.
Where he finally fell asleep, two hours after bedtime and after throwing a massive tantrum because he didn’t want to go to bed.
It’s also fun to have your friends goggle at the amount of food your two small boys consume. They never really stopped eating.
Another great benefit to skipping town is that we get to experience new things and get ourselves outside of our normal routine. Oh, the boys still went to bed at the usual time, ate at the usual time, and napped at the usual time, but they also visited the Portland Children’s Museum and the Portland Zoo, had lunch and brunch at restaurants, got to watch cartoons, and played at new and interesting parks.
Climbing the wall at the museum.
Climbing something at the zoo.
Playing this much is hard work.
My life and my girlfriends’ lives are awfully different now, and have been for some time. I can’t say that I’m not jealous of their ability to eat out whenever they choose, go on wine-tasting trips to Walla Walla or Sonoma, and wear clothing that is forever untainted by child snot. What’s amazing, though, is that even though we’ve all changed and our daily lives are pretty divergent, we still have such a strong connection to one another. They’re my forever friends, and I love that my boys will know them as constants in our lives.