Monday, May 30, 2011

City stay

It was a plan three years in the making, though the actual scope of the plan certainly doesn’t merit taking that long to effect.

Three years ago, Rick and I agreed we’re really like to go into Boston for an overnight getaway: see a live theater performance, walk through the Back Bay neighborhood in which I lived during the years between college and marriage, absorb the ambience of city life that we expose ourselves to so little these days.

Boston is only 45 minutes from where we live, and leaving the house and kids behind for one night really isn’t that complicated an undertaking, so it shouldn’t have taken three years to pull this off. We’ve traveled for longer stints of time to far more distance places in those same three years.

But somehow the stars just never aligned: our schedule and our wishes and our budget never intersected at a point where this little trip seemed viable until this month.

And in the three years since we first imagined it, we’d made a critical change to the plan. Perhaps it has to do with my own growth process as a parent and perhaps it has to do with the difference between having kids age 5 and 9 versus having kids age 8 and 12, but at some point not long ago I decided I wanted Tim and Holly to come with us. “We need a family excursion more than we need an adult getaway right now,” I told Rick when we were finally ready to nail down a plan. “They haven’t had enough exposure to city life lately either. Let’s all do this together.”

So that’s what we did, and even though it was only 24 hours, it was a wonderful experience. We ate at Legal Sea Foods, visited the Museum of Fine Arts, saw a performance by Blue Man Group, swam in the hotel pool, and took a long walk through all our old haunts: past my Back Bay studio apartment, through Rick’s college neighborhood, into the Christian Science Center courtyard where we got engaged. “This is where I was conceived!” Tim exclaimed when Rick told him the stone bench amidst flowering gardens next to the famous fountain was the site of our engagement. “Not exactly!” I exclaimed, startled by his mistake. Conceived of, maybe, which is definitely different. But we let it go at that.

Tim thanked us for including him; Holly followed suit when she saw that we appreciated his words, even though I don’t think she had the same mature awareness that Tim did as far as understanding we could have just as easily gone by ourselves. And that was one thing I couldn’t help thinking was better about traveling with them now than when they were a lot younger: with little kids, you spend a lot of time trying to arrange family trips and hoping the kids appreciate it. At this point, we know they do. And they say so.

Perhaps it shouldn’t have taken us three years to execute on this plan, but I’d argue it was worth the wait. We all had a wonderful and memorable time. Simple enough to drive 45 minutes from home for a single overnight? Absolutely. But all the more appreciated for how long it took us to get there.

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