I recently wrote about vacationing with your kids and how it’s not a vacation unless you leave them home, (http://tracybuckner.com Vacation? Not So Much, 12/13) so my husband and I decided to try vacationing without them. We left everyone to fight over the last loaf of bread and gallon of milk in Shop-Rite before another impending storm.
There’s nothing like Jamaica in February. Sun and rum drinks. We booked an all-adult resort which meant no teenagers texting in the hot tub, and no 2-year-olds in the pool in their swimmy diapers which promise to “keep it all in.” Trust me, “keeping it all in” is a myth.
After boarding a 6 AM flight and not arriving at the resort until that evening thanks to a brewing storm, I was ready for a glass of wine, a fabulous dinner, and a beautiful sunset. My husband lovingly looked at me, took my hand and said, “Do you want to play ping-pong?”
The next morning…Do you want to paddle board, go snorkeling, we could scuba dive, hit the gym, ride a wave runner, why don’t we take a kayak out? Me to him: Why don’t you take a nap?
We set ourselves up under an umbrella and as I longingly looked at my yet unopened book, we walked to the activity hut. Wait…aren’t activity huts for kids? All these years I was under the misconception that my kids needed us for a successful vacation, when in reality it was my husband who needed them even more.
While other couples were being served drinks as they relaxed beach-side, I was being outfitted with flippers and a face mask. We spent the first morning snorkeling. That afternoon – kayaking. That night – ping pong, again.
Marriage is all about compromise I told myself. My time would come. Perhaps there was a giant shovel I could find so he could dig a hole. Or I could use it to hit him over the head. Or perhaps I could fly my son down.
The next morning I left my book in our room. We went paddle boarding. Then, while my husband went wind surfing it was my chance to sit on the beach and summon that waiter. I didn’t have my book but I didn’t have my husband either. My vacation had begun.
But just as I was relaxing on the beach I realized I couldn’t spot him on the water. It was like having a lost child. Where is he? I stood up, nervous, heart racing. I paced the beach scanning the horizon ready to call the National Guard or whatever they have in Jamaica for tourists gone wild. Then he appeared, happily riding a wave in. I felt like that mom who loses their child and when reunited wants to hug them and throttle them at the same time. WHERE IS THAT WAITER? WHERE IS THAT SHOVEL?
That afternoon was spent on a wave runner. I gave my book to the maid. “Isn’t this great?” he screamed to me over the roar off the engine. My hair whipping across my face. Surgery imminent for my neck. I gave him a thumbs-up. Isn’t marriage grand?
I am never traveling without my kids again.
Then, a miracle. We met a couple from Manitoba, Canada. She also had that dazed look on her face like she was looking for a playmate for her husband. It was a match made in rum heaven. She liked to read and apply suntan lotion. He liked beach volleyball and anything except sitting on a beach. Soon it was like putting our kids on the bus. “Play nice with each other,” we said as we waved goodbye to them every morning.
Finally, we could vacation as we wanted and our Ladies Group had grown. Apparently I wasn’t the only one looking to do damage with a shovel. I borrowed a book since the maid was enjoying mine.
Reunited with my husband in the late afternoons, I was happy and he was tired. At night there were sunset sailboat cruises, a disco, and a piano bar where everyone was expected to sing, and believe me you haven’t lived until you’ve heard Born in the USA sung with a Jamaican accent. With our new friends all around us, it was a fun and memorable adult-only vacation. Happiness can be found after your kids are grown up and gone!