As soon as I boarded the plane, the seat felt spacious and coach status luxurious. No balancing trays or gathering the troops when someone thought he or she had to tinkle. It’s not easy to squeeze my two young children with me into an airplane bathroom. It requires questionable acrobatics, sucking in and loads of hand sanitizer. However, on this occasion it was just me and inflight entertainment. Sitting alone was novel, yet effortless to embrace. It was my first solo weekend and I ventured to SoCal to visit a dear friend. The end of the restful weekend highlighted that my fatigue filters everyday tasks as mundane, or adventurous travels as hurdles – a getaway was long overdue.
Our Australian expat days entailed lots of traveling; sometimes I started the journey with the kids, only for my husband to join us later. Determined to share the world with our children, no matter how cumbersome traveling may be, it can be as exhausting as it is rewarding. While Brian and I have occasionally enjoyed vacations when we relieved our parental duties to the grandparents, I never went anywhere alone, as in without my family. Both while traveling and living everyday life, I have eyes on the back of my head and hands tightly squeezed by my little ones. Although I embrace the adventure, sometimes mommy needs a break: the kind that entails a slower stride with just women.
Buzz had it there is such a thing and my friends swore by its restorative effect, but an assumed regret loomed over me like a dark cloud. They listed the many benefits, concluding with the compelling outcome of it making me a better mom, but I still resisted. However, I took a leap and have since abandoned remorse and persevered on three girls weekends, LA marking my first.
A recent trip to Seattle with some close friends was on the calendar for weeks and its anticipation lessened the winter blues. A getaway surrounding food, shopping and leaving behind our busy mom ways was pure blissful rejuvenation. Overly enthusiastic for our departure, I caused a late start in need to turn around and retrieve my phone. (Brian didn’t hesitate to note my priorities in reminding me that I remembered the wine, but not my phone.)
Loading up for a several hour ride to Seattle, we finally arrived to a city whose claim to fame is rain and coffee – and Nordstrom. While sitting in a car for excessive time may seem null, I beg to differ, as instead it was the perfect prelude to the weekend. Our conversation never paused as inside jokes were flying and we added more to our repertoire. We shared ideas and thoughts about topics our husbands may tune out or kids won’t understand: welcoming both laid back banter, while still balancing politics or parenting dilemmas.
We dumped our bags at The Paramount, allowing quick access to shopping and even walking distance to Pike’s Place. We lunched at the Nordstrom Café before beginning an afternoon of exercising our credit cards. So much eye candy begged for us to introduce spring to our closets. Zara peaked our interest, but we perused many shops where we inquired honest opinions about coats, sunglasses and shoes, enabling us to each walk out with some exciting and staple pieces.
As happy hour cued our motions back to the room, we sipped on wine while getting fancy for a night out. Experiencing Seattle through our sense of taste, we dined at a chic French-American restaurant, RN74, where balloons and crayons were nowhere to be found. We indulged in an array of small pates and cocktails: duck fat fries, escargot croissants and hush puppies to name a few, prompted the need to walk off dinner. This entailed an unforeseen encounter of Seattle through our sense of smell as we choked on the overpowering cloud of pot we continuously happened upon.
While still not ready to retire for the night, we hunted for more cocktails and dessert. We retreated to the hotel restaurant, Dragonfish, for a late happy hour and wrapped up the night with lychee drops and decadent chocolate cake. We knew the next day was going to be good as our only concern was where to brunch and which fresh tulips would make it home best.
Sleeping through the night (we had no one “whispering” in our ear they needed a drink of water or had a bad dream) made the cloudy Seattle sky seem bright. Finding a great spot to eat overlooking Pike’s Place, we moved at a slow pace before meandering the stalls of fresh bouquets, cheese and souvenirs. Alas, mid-day arrived and our husbands – I mean home – was calling our name.
As I pulled onto our street, my kids taking advantage of a warmer day, ran with the car onto our driveway. Before doors even opened, their squeals imploded with frenzy to highlight details of the weekend. My short absence unearthed a buried vigor and I naturally reciprocated the excitement in discovering how many times they jumped off the swings or how full daddy let them fill their ice cream cups. The details of colored sprinkles and how they maneuvered about the playground enveloped a familiar comfort, gearing my mood for the daily routines and upcoming travels alike. Cheers to girl’s weekends, Seattle, good friends and all of the above for making family life better!