Away from the children

My husband and I are just back from our first night away from the kids by ourselves. Ever. In seven years.
We went to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, which is about an hour and half away from where we live. It’s a quaint little town with a lot of art, antiques, and bed and breakfasts. We stayed at the Inn on Fairfax, which was lovely. Built up around hot springs, the town has an interesting history, replete with Native American stories and traditions. Also, George Washington spent time there. (THAT would have thrilled our daughters.)
It is also where we spent our honeymoon 15 years ago. We rented a cabin up on the mountain, about 5 miles away from the town, at a resort called the Coolfont, now under new ownership. We loved eating at the Treetop Restaurant—the food was great and the place surrounded by windows, with trees all around, we really felt like we were in the tops of the trees. It was a wonderful feeling.
One night, our dinner table was next to Al and Tipper Gore’s table in the dining room. Then, he was a senator. There were two things that stood out to me about him. He was impeccably groomed, not a hair out of place or a bad nail to be found. The other thing I will never forget is the way other folks took a second look at him, but his glance never left Tipper. I have often thought about that throughout our years of being married.
Things have changed in the quaint little town. The Treetop is no longer in business, while the new owners are trying to find their way. And our other favorite restaurant there Tari’s Premier Cafe, has probably doubled in size. It’s more hip and youthful than the Treetop ever was and Tari’s creative spirit defines the decor and the menu. A vegetarian can find a broad choice of good eats; as can meat eaters. I had a portabello mushroom sandwich, but it was hard to choose because the menu has several interesting looking salads—apple and warm brie salad and a mozzarella and tomato salad. Ultimately, I chose what would go well with my stout. (What I mean by that is I did not want to fall over when I got up from the table.) Our meal at Tari’s was absolutely the culinary highlight.
We have changed, too, from that young-ish couple, full of a mixture of wild ambitions and angst. My husband hated his work; he was unchallenged. I was deep into my career of editing and writing. Later, at the age of 34, I was almost paralyzed with my longing for a child. With our first baby came great changes. A new place to live. A new look at ambitions and angst.
Now my husband has an incredible job, where he is challenged and excited about his work. And I am living the stay-at-home-Mom freelance writing dream I had for many years. (Though I had no idea what kind of challenge THAT would be!) We are parents, grateful for the experience, grateful for our girls. But we enjoyed tripping around the Berkeley Springs shops without having to worry about them knocking something over or their little legs getting tired. It was nice to carry on conversation without being interrupted a million times. It was also luxurious to lie in bed on Sunday morning without having to rush to get breakfast or dress two squirmy girls.
But, we also missed them; we missed the magic of showing them things. The hot springs were teaming with tadpoles. A fiddler was playing in the streets. Colorful flowers and vegetables lined the stall at the farmers market. We strolled hand and hand, talking about the future, the past, and our place in the universe. The only thing that was missing was seeing the sparks in our girls eyes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *