Filling my bucket: A kids-free beach weekend

In the depths of winter, when every day as a mom of two felt too hard to endure, I had this kids-free fantasy: I’d check into a hotel, I’d lie down in the king size bed, and there would be no one there to touch me. I would take a shower and eat a meal someone else cooked. Maybe I’d watch some TV. But mainly I’d be away.

The fantasy always felt cruel because it seemed utterly unattainable. I had a toddler who cried whenever I picked up my baby. I had a baby who was often in pain from reflux, who hardly slept, and who wouldn’t take a bottle. Even though we had the means to pay for a hotel for a night, I couldn’t go.

I felt trapped.

I remembered this fantasy a few weeks ago when—wait for it—I spent an entire kids-free weekend at the beach with friends.

I remembered the pain, the desperation, the dark hopelessness of those teary days. But the memory didn’t sting like a fresh cut; rather, it was an ache of a more distant pain. And the salt water of the Oregon coast helped heal me.Girlfriends kids-free beach weekend minivan

Four girlfriends and I piled into a minivan and headed to Lincoln City. We laughed the entire ride out, and we didn’t care if we were slowed by traffic: We had no itinerary and no babies screaming in the car.

We all have kids but our partners watched them the whole getaway weekend (and texted us updates and photos, of course).

We watched trashy movies. We ate way too much sugar. We drank coffee while it was still hot. We took long walks on the beach. We went shopping but ended up just buying outfits for our kids. We didn’t shut our traps the entire 48 hours we were gone.

It was the longest uninterrupted stretch of time we’d had together since college almost a decade ago. We reconnected in a way that would have been impossible with the distractions of partners and children. (They’re wonderful distractions that we’d kill for, but distractions nonetheless when you just want to gab with girlfriends!)

We talked through dilemmas. We relived bad/good decisions that involved beer bongs and theme parties. We learned about each other. We talked incessantly about the kids we missed like crazy, and no one ever got bored of looking at photos of our babies, toddlers, preschoolers and preteens.

kids-free beach weekend with friendsdriftwood kids-free weekend Oregon coastcoffee beach friends Oregon coastThe second night, I had to turn in a little earlier than my friends. After all, I’d set my alarm to pump at 3am.

As I lay in bed with my eyes closed, I listened to my dear friends in the living room. I could hear them laughing—really laughing—to the point they were reduced to hiccuping, squealing heaps.

The clock ticked closer to my pumping wake-up call, but I relished hearing their voices. I must have been smiling when I finally drifted off. The last thing I remember thinking:

My bucket is full. girlfriends kids-free beach trip

11 thoughts on “Filling my bucket: A kids-free beach weekend

    • April 18, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      Thank you! I did feel recharged. 🙂

  • April 18, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    What a fantastic getaway – and something I definitely am going to recommend to other mom friends, SET ASIDE A LADIES GETAWAY! It sounds like it really should be something every mom schedules now and then as light at the end of the tunnel sometimes, and as a way to refresh themselves.

    • April 18, 2016 at 8:45 pm

      It totally was something to look forward to! It’s especially great to have a kids-free getaway in the spring so it’s motivation to get through the winter.

  • April 18, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    I LOVE beach weekends – So happy for you that you were able to get away with girlfriends and enjoy that coffee while it was still hot! Sometimes it’s the little things too 🙂

    • April 18, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      We kept talking about enjoying those little things, like hot coffee, an unrushed shower, a beer in the middle of the afternoon, and no Raffi in the car!

  • April 18, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    So lovely! We just did a much needed weekend at the coast as well. Though, ours was kids and all and it did make everything a lot more work. The coast is restorative however so I feel wonderful today.

    Getting to hang with just my girl-friends for an entire weekend sounds like a dream!

    • April 18, 2016 at 8:47 pm

      It was a dream. I’m still marveling that we somehow made it happen! The coast is wonderful any way you cut it – family coast trips are key, too!

  • April 18, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    Ah. To not be touched by any tiny human hands (or other body parts)… I share your dream. Sounds like a great trip!

  • May 5, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    I was just re-reading this and remembered the e.e. cummings poem I was telling you about when we were walking the beach. When I look back at the pictures, these words are all I hear! XO

    maggy and milly and molly and may
    went down to the beach(to play one day)

    and maggie discovered a shell that sang
    so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

    milly befriended a stranded star
    whose rays five languid fingers were;

    and molly was chased by a horrible thing
    which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

    may came home with a smooth round stone
    as small as a world and as large as alone.

    For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
    its always ourselves we find in the sea

    • May 5, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      Oh I love this. Thank you!


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