Two long years ago, my mother-in-law treated Ben and I to a getaway for our first anniversary. Nothing crazy, just a night out to a local touristy spot, where we enjoyed dinner, a horse-drawn carriage ride, and a glass of wine or two. It was a lovely time, marred only by the quite unromantic occasion of me having to use my breast pump several times throughout the evening.
But you know what sticks out the most in mind about our little getaway?
Our trip to the gas station on the way home.
After filling up the tank, Ben pulled up to the front of the station, shut off the engine, and unbuckled his seat belt.
“I’m going to go in and get some snacks,” he said.
“Uh uh” I muttered, barely looking up from my People magazine.
He stared at me, unmoving.
“Do you want to come in with me?” he offered.
It took me a minute to process….
I could go in with him? I didn’t have to face the inevitable and long-lasting struggle of buckling and unbuckling a child in the car seat? I didn’t have to sit in the car, straining to entertain a small child trapped in a vehicle?
A small chorus of heavenly singing erupted.
I opened the car door, stepped out into the sunshine, and simply closed the door behind me. In and out. Nothing could be simpler. Is this how people live? Is this how I used to live? Just getting out of the car without a backwards glance? No finding lost shoes, putting on hats and gloves on little people, or wrestling a screaming body into a 5 point harness? Incredible. As we strode together hand-in-hand into that gas station to load up on junk food, I felt giddy with delight. I couldn’t even remember the last time I had walked anywhere with my husband, holding hands and carefree. What freedom! What fun! We even felt so crazy that we bought a lotto ticket while waiting in line. (We didn’t win).
Life with kids and car seats gets complicated. I praise God for such inventions as drive-through pharmacies, eye doctor uncles who will fix my glasses for me in the parking lot, and drive-by library drop off boxes. I limit all errands by the amount of in-and-out car seat transfers said errand will entail. Actually, who am I kidding? I rarely run errands if it can at all be avoided. I dread it, and so far, since Mya came along, I’ve managed to find a way to grocery shop without the kids, bolting out of the house when my mom stops by for a visit, sending Ben long emails of things to pick up for me, or playing the ever-popular “How long can we survive without milk/cereal/eggs/bread?” game.
Ahhh..parenthood. It ain’t easy.
But I will say this: Being a parent allows you to appreciate the little things in life. Like spring, with its shedding of winter coats and one less step getting out of the house. Or holding hands with your husband at the gas station.