July 22, 2013

The Summer Series - Rebecca Schorr

My guest today, Rebecca Schorr, is a mother of three and a talented writer. I know the best people, y'all. For real! When I mentioned on Twitter that I had a few openings for this series, Rebecca replied immediately that she'd love to participate. I was thrilled.

I so appreciate knowing other writer mamas who understand me in a way no one else can. Rebecca is always in my corner, cheering me on, lifting me up after a rejection, congratulating me when I score a new writing gig and encouraging me to never give up.

When she’s not channeling all her energy into her duties as chief scullery maid or editor of a professional newsletter, Rebecca Einstein Schorr is a contributing author of The New Normal: Blogging Disability and the Rabbis Without Borders blog. A member of the Listen To Your Mother – Wilmington cast, Rebecca’s work regularly appears on Kveller.com and she is a frequent guest on Huffington Post Live. Writing at her blog, This Messy Life, Rebecca finds meaning in the sacred and not-yet-sacred intersections of daily life. 

She and her husband are counting down the days to a well-deserved getaway. I have a feeling it might involve some more flowers behind her ear...

We were never going to be one of those couples. The ones who couldn't bear to leave their children for any considerable length of time. Who sacrificed their own wanderlust in lieu of family trips to Disney or Hawaii or the Grand Canyon. No, we were going to continue to be the carefree, adventurous people we'd always been and make certain to carve out "couple time." 

And things did indeed start out that way. We went on our first post-baby date when our oldest was just five days old. A family friend watched him while we had a picnic at the park down the block. It was our way of asserting our parental independence and assuring that we didn't become one of those couples. The couples who were the focus of articles in Redbook or Ladies Home Journal; the ones who needed to recharge their relationship because any semblance of romance had long since faded.

With family nearby, we accepted their offers to watch the baby so that we could have date nights but relied equally on a small cadre of teens from our synagogue. We had our first weekend away from our firstborn when he was ten months old. And we continued to schedule dates and the occasional vacation as he grew and even after the arrival of our second child.

But things got harder as our firstborn, Ben, got older. Harder because, as we later learned, he is on the autism spectrum. And doing anything that affected his schedule made life so very difficult for him... and everyone around him. Not to mention we had added a third child to the mix. And it wasn't so very long before nearly a decade has passed since we went on a romantic getaway.

And date nights? Few and far-between. Now living across the country from family, we have yet to find someone able to care for Ben and his sibs. How had this happened? We really HAD become one of those couples. And what’s worse is that we hadn’t even noticed.

Some well-meaning folks reassured us that this was just part and parcel of being a young family. "It's not realistic to take vacations without the children." "This is the time for family trips." "Romantic trips? There will be time for that later."

Fortunately, my parents, recognizing the signs of overwhelming fatigue that often plagues parents of kids with special needs on their recent visit, offered to watch the kids so that we could get a few days away. An offer that seemed nice. And like something that we might do. Someday.

But the more we talked about it, the more we realized that we sorely need the time away from everything. For rejuvenation. For respite. For romance.

In a completely uncharacteristic move, my husband told his staff that he would be unreachable during our trip. That like the children, his cell phone was not invited on this vacation. A sure sign that my work-addicted husband is sorely in need of a break.

And so, in just over a month we are going away. We are really doing it. We are going to an all-inclusive, adult-only resort. Replete with unlimited activities and drinks (his requirement) and hammocks (my requirement). Six days in Paradise cannot make up for the lost time. But it surely is enough to get us back on the track where we’d started. Because we really don’t like being one of those couples.

Please make sure to share lots of pictures so I can live vicariously through you, Rebecca. Because my hubby and I are one of those couples right now. I believe in the importance of couples time and we have a babysitter scheduled for this weekend, but we have never been away from our daughter for more than 24 hours.

Just make sure to put the flowers behind the correct ear. When I was on my honeymoon in St. Lucia, I apparently put them behind the wrong ear, which is meant as a sign of availability. Oops!

Check out these other great Summer Series posts:

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