“But why? And why Seattle?”
“Because I’ve wanted to see it for a while, and this is the week I have.”
“But it’s cold.”
“It’s winter. What will you do there?”
“The same things that the 600,000 people who live there do, I expect.”
“Why not Florida? I’ll fly down with the kids and we could meet up with my parents.”
“Because that is not a vacation.”
“So how about this. You take a few days for yourself, then I’ll get your parents to watch the kids and I’ll join you in Seattle for the weekend.”
“Dear husband. I love you madly. I will be overjoyed to spend a romantic weekend getaway any time you want. But this is my week alone.”
“Well, that’s just it. Why would you want to spend all that time alone?”
“Because 51 weeks a year, I am on call 24/7. And I need a few days alone. All by myself. A-LONE.”
“I don’t get it.” DH is irritably puzzled.
“You don’t have to. Just say you will watch the girls for five days.”
“Fine. Fine, I’ll make it work.”
Irritably puzzled as DH may be, every single grownup woman to whom I’ve spoken is head-over-heels about the idea:
“Seattle, my gosh, you’ll have such a great time.”
“Seattle? I have a friend who visited Seattle. Let me call her and find out all the best things to do!”
“Nobody’s going with you at all?” (A wistful look, this from a mom with two clinging to her knees.)
“Any particular reason?” asks my dental hygienist.
“Because,” I mumble around a wad of cotton, “with little kids you get so defined by everyone around you, that I’m not even sure I remember how to read a bus schedule or find my way out of the airport. I figure that once a year I have to practice. Or I’ll just forget how to do it.”
She’s nodding away while she polishes a molar. “Totally.”
As if that is not enough, contemplate these further allures from the Mom’s Week Off Travel Brochure:
- A cave-dark hotel room, for sleeping without one ear a-prick for nightmare calls, potty attacks, or telltale burbling sound of the dog about to throw up again on the carpet.
- Hot showers of unlimited length.
- Free continental breakfast. Which is cooked by somebody else. Which you can take back to your room and eat while using the free wi-fi. Which doesn’t cut out when the kids suck up all the bandwidth watching yet another episode of Odd Squad.
- Using said free wi-fi write a whitepaper on whatever social or political issue matters to you, or (more likely) just to surf specimen plants on Dave’s Garden for as long as you damn well please.
- And, oh! also using it to groom your “Yes, dear, I won’t play that music in the house when the children are around” playlists on Spotify. Booyah.
- Earbudding said playlists on the way to the ice rink, by bus, every day. Peoplewatching! And Skating! Every! Day! Which may mean losing a pesky five pounds, another thing that’s just too much trouble IRL.
- Eating a hot meal in a restaurant. I don’t mean one that is served hot, whereupon somebody immediately has to be escorted to the potty. I mean a meal where every bite is hot, and I can have that second martini, because Uber is driving.
- Figuring out Uber, on which I am several years behind.
Okay, I realize these things could mostly take place in any suburban Super-8. I’m excited to see Seattle, too, don’t get me wrong. Coffee everywhere, seafood everywhere, the original Starbucks, Pike’s Place Market, miles of hilly urban hiking (at sea level!), the Impressionism exhibit at the art museum, water taxis, and all that. The whale-watching is out of season, but that’s the only drawback.
And when I come home, after walking fast through the airport, feeling all competent and fancy with a single small bag and a spare hand for my coffee, I’ll be all done being a hunter for this year. I probably won’t even mind when somebody wipes their nose on my shoulder during a hello-hug.
December 26-31, Mom’s Week Off. Because.
P.S. – Hotel and airfare to Seattle in winter? Stupid cheap.