Joe and I got back Sunday afternoon from Charleston, South Carolina, where we spent four days-- WITHOUT OUR CHILDREN -- drinking wine, eating raw oysters and po' boys, having sex without being interrupted by a cock-blocking three year old, and lying around in the sun by the pool, and playing the "Would You Rather" game to hilarious affect.
Here are five things I learned while on baecation with my number one:
1. After both listening to this podcast featuring Esther Perel at least three times each, Joe and I realized and mutually agreed on a very key detail: to assume that we know all there is to know about our spouse is essentially relationship suicide. Active curiosity within your partnership, specifically about your partner, is imperative. If we ignorantly assume that we know all there is to know about our partner after, say.... twelve years, the next fifty or sixty are going to be pretty fucking boring, don't you think? While on vacation, we decided to take this advice quite literally. We played a running game of 20 Questions for four straight days and, as corny as it sounds, we discovered so many neat and peculiar things about each other-- things we previously didn't. We learned things that caught us off guard because we assumed we'd answer completely differently than we did. Some of our answers made us laugh our assess off while others possessed a degree of honesty that humbled us, erasing any preconceived notions we held about the other. It was fun, it was enlightening, and it was evidence that curiosity is not only a virtue, it's an emotional and physical aphrodisiac.
2. I used to believe that our children were the cornerstone of our family's foundation simply because all of our focus was on them for the majority of our time. However, I couldn't have been more wrong. My relationship with Joe is solely responsible for our family therefore, if we ignore our relationship-- our foundation-- and allow it to crumble due to negligence, everything our relationship has created will follow suit. Nurturing our marriage, focusing only on each other, and taking the time to delve deep into each other' needs-- emotionally AND physically, natch -- will only strengthen our family as an entire unit.
3. Post-vacation depression is real and debilitating. Tell me you know what I'm talking about, please!?!
4. If you're visiting Charleston, here is my advice: stay at the Market Pavilion or the Restoration (they both have rooftop pools), bring a hat and sunscreen, go to 167 Raw (be prepared to wait and sit in front of the kitchen if you can. Shake Russ's hand, the chef, if you can manage and shake it like you mean it. He'll call you out if you come at him with the limp wrist. For the record, I was not called out.) The Ordinary (sit at the bar and ask for Trey. Order the tartare with crispy oysters and the crab toast. Thank me later.), The Darling Oyster Bar (the grilled octopus salad BLEW OUR DAMN MINDS. By far, the best thing we ate all weekend and we ate a lot of fucking food.), The Daily (great little breakfast spot further down north King Street with avocado toast and iced matcha if you're into that kind of hipster thing), and Butcher & Bee (drink a glass of rosé or three and get real rebellious and order yourself the double cheese burger with fries. You're on vacation after all so JUST EAT THE DAMN CHEESEBURGER.)
5. It took me three full days to miss the kids and, though I probably should, I don't feel an ounce of guilt about that. But that fourth day?! Holy hell. You could not get me home to my girls and get Knox onto my hip fast enough. The emotional longing felt physical and desperate and impossibly overwhelming. Seeing their happy, eager faces upon reunion felt like the emotional equivalent to all of my puzzle pieces being put back together. Because the truth is that as much as I need and love getting away and as much as I know that detaching from Mom Mode is healthy for everyone, my home is wherever those three impossible humans are.
And it feels really, really good to be home, a little tanner, and a lot more in love.