This month, my husband and I will have been together for 22 years. We were pretty much children when we first started dating. There’s something incredible about growing up with your true love. We’ve watched each other mature. We’ve struggled through dark days. We’ve rejoiced over amazing accomplishments. We’ve laughed ourselves silly more times than I can count. And we’ve done it all together. Also, we’ve both been puked on by our kids.
In May, we’ll be married 19 years. My husband thinks it’s 20. He’s wrong. I considered breaking out the marriage certificate to confirm his wrongness, but instead, I simply said, “It’s good to know you feel like you’ve been with me longer than you actually have.” So whether or not he still thinks it’s 20, he’s currently agreeing with me.
Regardless of the fact that my beloved thinks I am a burden that has aged him an additional year, I still love him. So much so, that his talk of 20 years together got me thinking about celebrating. I mean, it’s a pretty big deal to spend two decades with one person. Especially if that person brings home shopping carts for personal use and has an odd obsession with fermented food products.
But I’m not a huge fan of parties. I mean, I love to plan them, attend them, and clean up after them (it’s a sickness), but I do not like to be the focus of the celebration. So, no anniversary party.
I do love to travel, though. Or, more accurately, I love the idea of traveling. For our honeymoon, I desperately wanted to go to the land of my people (Ireland), but my beloved informed me that fishing was not at its prime at that time of year. For some reason — likely because my singular focus was talking to a seamstress, on a pay phone, four days prior to my wedding day wondering when my dress would be ready — I said, “Okay. Then where do you want to go?”
As the Mexican fishing boat we chartered pulled away from the dock, I curled up under the awning and used all of my brand-new wife skills to pretend that my sun poisoning wasn’t going to make me vomit right that second. The rest of the honeymoon wasn’t so bad. Except for the time I punched the French woman who sat on my lap after I had had a harrowing encounter with a school of angelfish that had tried to eat my hair. That may have been a little worse.
Anyway, I’m not giving up on travel. I am a woman who practiced attachment parenting for many, many years. I was unaware that it was a literal term until it was too late. Did you know they legitimately come out then reattach to any part of you that they can catch; even when you’re flat-belly shimmying out of their room after you thought you had finally gotten them to sleep? I think a vacation is in order.
I love the idea of exploring other countries. I’ve been blessed enough to see quite a few of these united states and I’ve even made it out of the country once or twice. But I’ve never done any international travel with my husband, without my children. As I started considering this, I remembered the infamous story of my grandmother and her first and last trip to Canada. After a pleasant day of sightseeing and visiting, she and my grandfather settled into the hotel room for a well-deserved rest. (They were, after all, raising eight kids.)
My grandfather recalled being shaken by my grandmother in the middle of the night.
“What’s the matter?”
“We need to go home.”
“My children are sleeping in another country. Pack the car.”
There’s a part of me that worries I will find complete sense in this argument, once we cross any border. But there’s a larger part of me that thinks that after 16 years of parenting, my husband and I deserve more than 24 kid-free hours together. And that part has pretty much choked out the sleeping-in-another-country part.
Luckily, I have a year or so to plan a trip worthy of our marriage. I have every intention of making it fabulous. And also planning every waking second so we don’t miss one single thing of historical and/or educational importance. Yep. He’s going to be super happy he married me.
I’m not sure there is a single person in the world who has made better life choices than Rick Steves. He must have sold his soul to the devil because there is no other way to get paid to travel around Europe, eating all the things and chatting happily with the locals. Rick has a list of recommended ideas when planning a trip. He doesn’t mention it, but I’d like to suggest, in the “things to leave behind” area, that you refer to tripresource.com and their list of Items To Leave At Home:
– A copy of your itinerary with spouse or friend
– A copy of your passport (photo and visa pages) and other travel documents
– Any unneeded credit cards
– I.D. and membership cards (i.e. office key card)
– Expensive and/or religious jewelry
– Penknife or anything that looks like a weapon
– Company logo items
– Pornographic magazines
The last two are oddly uncomfortable, mostly because they made the list for a reason. Anyway, safe travels!
Laurie Nigro, is the mother of two biological children and one husband. She also takes care of a menagerie of animals that leave throw-up around for her to step in in the middle of the night. Laurie’s passionate about frugal, natural living, which is a nice way of saying she’s a kombucha-brewing, incense-burning, foodie freak who tries really hard not to spend money on crap made by child laborers. You can hear her rant about her muse (aka husband) and other things that have no bearing on your life, in this space each Sunday.
Write to Laurie: