I’ve heard the term “babymoon” described in several contexts–the most common being a romantic(?) vacation taken before the arrival of a new baby for the parents-to-be to celebrate their alone time before becoming a threesome. Marketed as: “This is your absolute! LAST! chance! to blow a bunch of money on a vacation AS A COUPLE before a baby comes and destroys all of the love and romance and replaces it with screaming and poop!!” I mostly see it as a way to capitalize on the arrival of a new baby much like Sweetest Day enables Hallmark to sell mushy pink cards twice in one calendar year. I’m not buying it.
This past year has been a challenging one for our family, our loss, a new pregnancy with a difficult first trimester, and my husband’s job, which kept him away from us entirely too much. On top of that our firstborn learned to stretch his toddler wings and is giving us a nice big dose of his independence (read: he’s driving us bat-shit crazy and I lock myself in the bathroom snorting chocolate once per week). Our time together, the three of us, is limited and while we aren’t working with a huge budget, we made a conscious decision that any extra money we had at the end of each month would go into savings and spent on time together.
So we bargain-shopped our way into a reasonable beach rental just before peak season and drove 14 hours in the car to Hilton Head. We cooked breakfast and lunch ourselves and ventured out for dinner at restaurants with “early bird specials” (likely to attract the 65 and over crowd) which fit our mealtime and budget perfectly. The weather was beautiful, there weren’t crowds, and we even enjoyed a free concert on the harbor. During that week we made an effort to completely unplug. No Facebook, no Twitter, no blogging, no cell phones, nothing to distract us from each other.
Each morning when my son wakes he asks me, “Daddy home today?” and the answer pains me as it leaves my mouth, “No baby, Daddy’s at work today.” But not on vacation. On vacation, our toddler happily exclaimed what my husband told him our first morning together, “Daddy home tomorrow! Daddy home ALL WEEK!” For that week he was his Daddy’s boy–they played together, ate meals together, snuggled, tickled, and read together. They found their own inside jokes and my husband had the opportunity to see what a bright, curious, sweet boy we have on our hands. Not just the small glimpses he sees if he happens to make it home from work in time to say goodnight, he got to see it all. My husband fit seamlessly into our days as we walked on the beach singing “Wheels On The Bus.” Daddy taught us how to make drippy sandcastles for the first time, and we rode bicycles for ice cream cones without eating lunch first. There were no rules, no pagers, no chores, just us.
While our exhausted boy napped, my husband and I ate ice cream sandwiches and paged through baby name books. We took naps or snuggled on the couch commenting on how beautiful the weather was and how we can’t remember what it’s like to hold a newborn.
I sat and just watched our family play together in the sunshine. I was happy, and grateful and bursting with excitement at the thought of next year. Next spring, when we go to the beach, I will watch my son as a big brother and see my husband get to know both of our children amongst the sand, the ocean, and the quiet.
So I guess we did take a “babymoon” but I’d market it as this: Make togetherness a priority. Whether you steal away or stay at home, take a day or a week to JUST BE. Celebrate the love story that you’ve created and unplug to reconnect. No one has ever regretted making memories like these, they are far too precious and fleeting not to.