Posted by: Kate | August 21, 2008

Separate Vacations

Hot on the heels of Willem’s Mancation, I’m packing and preparing for another escapade of my own.  Gretchen, she of the yarn-enabling and kitchen-painting and child-rescuing, and I are going to spend the weekend at a B&B in Martha’s Vineyard.

With no husbands, fiances, or similarly ranked significant others.

With no children.

It’s OK, you can be jealous.  You can even hate me a little.  I would be jealous, too, if it was someone else going.  Four days in a B&B, no television, no computers, no plans.

Willem would appreciate it if no one interferes with his fantasies of high heels and pillow fights, though I think he has come to terms with the fact that there will be no videotapes to support his dreams.

It’s been an amazing summer.  We’ve done whole-family trips, things with each kid separately, a weekend away by ourselves… just about every combination except staying home for more than a week straight.  We’ve been planning it all for a while, and it has gone rather unbelievably according to plan.  Next summer, we’ll be moving and – maybe – getting ready for a newborn, so our travel opportunities will limit themselves for a while.

People have had various reactions, ranging from “Good for you!” to “How much will all THAT cost?” (answer: lots, but less than therapy or longterm psychiatric hospitalization).  But my favorite has been from some of Willem’s buddies, who were amazed that I would let him go to California for two whole weeks, with only Mike as a chaperon (Mike, who is about as likely a chaperon as Ron Jeremy).

I get it, that stereotype of women as shrewish dictators who spend their lives minimizing their husbands’ fun and freedoms, but isn’t that supposed to be more like a punch-line of a joke?  I don’t consider myself to be in a relationship where we let each other do things.  We ask, as a matter of courtesy, before making plans, and we, you know, listen to each other’s opinion about things, but we’re not prone to vetoing or resentment or whatever other fun things one might consider throwing into a relationship.

And, though it took a long time coming, we have trust.  It never crossed my mind to worry that Willem would hook up with some girl in a bar, or whatever.  It’s hard for me to even come up with a scenario along those lines.  We worked through that, and it’s not only that I trust him to behave appropriately in awkward situations, it’s that I have a hard time imagining him getting into an awkward situation in the first place.

As for me?  I’m far, far too boring and repressed to be much of a threat along those lines anyway.  When a G-rated, mild flirtation at a bar appears as a blogworthy event in my life, I think I’ve effectively established myself as staid and settled.  The mere idea of dating brings on a vague wave of nausea – all that work, all that awkwardness.

But on the flip side of things, we’re not attached at the hip, either.  I couldn’t care less about sports (though I do have an ongoing appreciation for just how sculpted some of these Olympian boys can be.  And girls, too, for that matter), and he cares even less about knitting than I care about sports.  We have our own sets of friends, different work interests, separate bookshelves in the office.  And we’ve had our share of separate vacations, especially in the past few years.  I’ve been to Paris and Jamaica with my mother and sisters, he’s been to Maine and California with his buddies.  (Yeah, I think I got the better part of the deal, but then he thinks similarly about his trip.)

The trick is, we’re not taking these vacations apart specifically to get away from each other; we’re taking them apart because circumstances and acquaintances and logic make it more sensible to do so.  We’re very much planning to travel together, soon and long-term.  But for now… it’s what works.

So I’ve got a few posts brewing, to be published over the weekend, and have begged Willem to post a story or two from his big adventure (the photos went up last night, did you see?  Over to the right? Good stuff).  And I’ll be back, and mellow enough to be about two steps above a coma on Monday night.



  1. I’m just back from 2 mini-vacations in 2 weeks, so say–yes! mutual and separate vacations are a wonderful part of a good marriage (we just passed 36 years).

    And I loved your comment about my moldy feet 🙂

  2. Jealous? Yes.
    Hate you? Yes.

    (Have fun!)

  3. Enjoy. I regularly go off for ‘girly’ weekends and they’re singularly cathartic and giggleworthy.

  4. Have a great trip, after Monday you totally deserve it!

  5. Have a wonderful weekend. Do some relaxing for me.

    My husband and I also go on seperate trips, mostly because we have different ideas of what constitutes a “fun” trip. He likes canoeing with the guys for a week; I like spending a week in a different cities visiting museums and eating good foods.

    By taking different trips once a year, we both get the vacations we like.

  6. of course we are jealous. 🙂 but good for you getting away!

  7. Have a nice time, Kate. You sure you don’t want to take the kids?

  8. Oh that sounds like sooo much fun! You’ll have a blast, and probably spend half the time wondering if you should be feeling guilty and not being able to relax (try to avoid this at all costs). Then you’ll be so happy to see your family.

    Ahh.. to have a pedicure. I had an itch on my foot the other day and couldn’t get to it because it was under too much skin. (TMI I know. Sorry.)


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