24 Hours

How unnatural it feels to have 24 hours alone with my husband.  This awkwardness belies the fact that we’ve enjoyed an entire week away this past spring.

But that was three seasons ago, and we haven’t had so much as a night since summer.  Those single nights in July were certainly sweet.  Casey would sneak home from his month-long intensive at Kripalu, and our 25 year old relationship would experience the novelty of “reunion.”

Tonight’s long neglected getaway has been carved from the Christmas holiday, leaving our boys alone together for the first time.  Though I relish our time outside of parenting, I always feel a bit “off” when the four of us aren’t under the same roof–which makes this experience, an out of body one.

It’s not that my husband and I aren’t embracing this time. We’ve circled this New Hampshire town on foot, enjoyed drinks and a dish of nachos for old times sake, read to ourselves and to each other, scribbled in journals, and took turns monitoring pop culture with a remote control (we don’t have tv at home.)  Casey did a bit of yoga, and I did a bit of writing.

At 7:30, we were ready for bed. Sleep. That’s how tired we didn’t know we were.

We pushed out another couple hours “doing” just to feel somewhat “normal” and then we rather dully retired the night.

I didn’t realize how far we’d come from those months when we made sure that we had at least one night alone together.  How quickly we’ve forgotten how to “be” after spending so much time “doing.” But like anything else, “being” is a muscle that atrophies from lack of attention.

Expectation is another hurdle to this escape together. Imagine how much we expect of 24 hours when we’ve waited so long to take it. We expect quiet and rejuvenation; we expect romance and fun; we expect uninterrupted sleep and conversation. We expect sex.

Expectations smother “beingness,” and I fall to sleep confused about how hard it is for me to surrender to this gift of a getaway.

In the morning we wake at the same time, and I open the shades so that we can “watch the sky grow rosy with the coming day.” There is a red barn and a church spire and a tractor.  There are rooftops with smoking chimneys. There’s a 180 degrees of mountain.

Propped in our bed under white fluffy covers looking out over this quiet town, there’s nothing else I’d rather be “doing,”  and it occurs to me that Casey and I have grown old together.

Neither of us has been tempted to turn on the large flat screen tv in the bedroom of our suite, and even though there is breakfast to order downstairs, we’re in no hurry to get anywhere.

And now we know. We can’t wait so long for the next 24 hours alone, and maybe we’d better make it 48.

Kelly Salasin, December 30, 2010

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