We are fortunate to live near both sets of our parents, and so sometimes one or two of the kids will go stay overnight and we enjoy a nice little break. Usually its the two little ones who leave, and John, Thomas and I ponder life as a family of three, which admittedly is blissfully serene. (Oh, don’t roll your eyes at me. We are always happy to see the little trouble makers when we get them back!) Sometimes just Thomas goes to the grandparents, and then the break is really all his. We do, however, all rush to the nearest fast food restaurant, basking in the fact that we can all eat without listening to him lecture us on the many ways it will surely kill us.

The point is this: rarely do all three kids stay overnight at the same time. Oh, it happens. Usually it’s because of a very special occasion, like someone’s wedding, and it involves dropping them off after dinner and picking them back up at breakfast. This past week, however, my Mom offered up the golden gift: a rare 24 hours without any children at all. Obviously, it meant the world to me, as I am now blogging about it.

With such a wonderful opportunity on hand, you might imagine that John and I made grandiose plans to do things like go to the movies, have dinner in a fancy restaurant, hang out at a bar all night or throw a party with friends. But, no, no. Like deer in headlight, the simple prospect of having 24 hours to ourselves left us paralyzed and unsure of how to proceed.

Let’s take it hour by hour, shall we?

Noon, Wednesday, April 4: We dropped the kids off at my parents and left feeling giddy with the prospect of all the kick-ass fun we would soon surely be having. Naturally, our first stop was the gas station. (insert record scratching sound) Yes, that’s right, we were low on gas, so we stopped off to fill up the tank. Gotta be prepared for a crazy night ahead. Get used to the underlying theme of responsibility. We are sadly warped with it.

1:00 pm: We find ourselves in Target. Yes, indeed. After a short stop at the mall to buy John his first pair of shorts since Cate was born (maybe I’m slightly exaggerating, but not much), it occurred to us that we were all out of toilet paper, and also that we needed Easter candy for the kids’ baskets. We spent a frustrating (I mean fun-filled!) hour debating the merits of peeps versus peanut butter eggs, sand toys versus stuffed animals, and then moved on. It was time for the REAL fun.

3:00 pm: We were exhausted. It had only been three hours, but the sheer pressure of trying to shed our responsible selves had drained us. We headed home to rest and take a shower. That might sound really fun, but my kids are old enough that I can shower when they are home, so it doesn’t count as kid-free fun.

4:30 pm: I spent less time getting ready for the Prom. Read: I was wearing makeup. We’re not so out of touch that we head straight to a restaurant and eat with the blue hairs, (although we both admitted we were starving), so we headed to the next logical place: Walmart.

5:30 pm: Okay, so NOW the Easter baskets were complete. With all this fuss, you’d think our kids got a bunch of great stuff, but no. Sadly the Easter Bunny usually sucks at our house. It’s a lame tradition in my opinion anyway. (Not the Resurrection of Christ! I mean the basket and candy thing. geez). Side note: In our current state of dress, and without several kids shouting and clinging to our shopping cart, we feel completely out of place at Walmart.

7:00 pm: We finally feel like its safe to go eat without fearing the lunch menus will be out. Not ones to be extravagant, we choose the Local Taco. Again, a place we can, and have, taken our kids. Yeah, we’re really not catching on to this whole “No kids” thing. Still, it was yummy.

8:30 pm: We find ourselves in the movie store, renting “I Bought a Zoo,” for the kids. No joke. We thought it might be nice to have family movie night, the following  night. Don’t worry, we rented ourselves a movie, too. What do you mean we should have gone to a real movie or at least headed out to a bar??

9:30 pm: Halfway through the movie we hear the cat behind us and both instinctively turn to see which kid is out of bed, interrupting our movie and needing something. We give a little jump when we realize there are no kids in the house. Oh, and then we realize we can rent movies and watch them any night the kids are home. Yep.

I’ll skip ahead and summarize the next few hours: Sleep, sleep, get up, go to Starbucks (again, something we do anyway with our kids), return the movie we rented, stop at the bank (yes, seriously, I needed to make a deposit. Important, responsible stuff), and then arrive EARLY at my parents’ house to pick up our kids, who aren’t even there, so we wait for them.

So there you have it. Clearly we do not need any time away from our kids, because we clearly enjoy doing all the exact same things we do with them in tow anyway! (But Mom, don’t take that to mean we wouldn’t welcome another chance. hint hint. Maybe for my birthday?).

Also, I want to clarify that at no point was either John or I disappointed in our choices. I mean, we made fun of ourselves the entire time, noticing that we were sticking to our usual routine, but we were enjoying ourselves. We just realized that we aren’t in our twenties anymore (we’re barely hanging on to our 30s!) and staying out super late isn’t as appealing (well, every once in a while it can be fun).

The best part is this: We realized that we don’t need some super special 24 hour date to enjoy ourselves. When it comes right down to it, what we HAVE, day in, and day out, three kids and a circus tagging along, is exactly what makes us Happy.

But again, potential babysitters should not take that to mean we’d turn you down…. 🙂

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