Robert and I took a three-day trip to the Oregon Coast this week and left the kids at home. Well, they weren't at our home. They were at our fabulous friend's home. (Thank you fabulous friend for watching our boys!) We had such a great, relaxing time and while we aren't ready to trade our cute boys in yet, we realized there are sure a lot of things you can do on vacation when you don't have kids.
For example, you can get up and go whenever you want and with relative ease. We arrived at the Yaquina Head lighthouse early enough to get these great pictures, and also to visit the tide pools at low tide.
And speaking of tide pools, if you don't bring your kids with you to the beach, you can spend time looking. Really looking. You don't have to keep your eye out for sneaker waves that might take your babies out to sea. You don't have to bring a change of clothes for the kids who will ultimately fall into the water and get soaked. You don't have to mediate fights over who saw the sea star first or convince anyone that we are NOT taking a hermit crab home.
And because you can stare and look and search, you might even see a very rare giant Pacific chiton. Or, you could spend a few, uninterrupted minutes listening to a very interesting park ranger who will point it out to you.
You could take pictures of the cobbles that cover the beach. You could then go to the interpretive center and read ALL the exhibit plaques and learn that these cobbles are from ancient volcanic lava flow.
If you don't bring kids to the beach, you can take one of those dorky self portraits where you hold out your arm with the camera and hope you get you and your sweetie centered. Then you might think that it doesn't even look like you took the picture yourself. Until you see your arm reflected in your husband's sunglasses.
If you don't bring your kids with you to the beach, you can climb out onto the rocks where the rising tide threatens to leave you stranded, and not even worry about it.
If you leave your kids home when you go to the beach you can break the rules, climb under the safety rail, and hike down to the crashing waves at the bottom of a cliff.
Speaking of crashing waves, if you leave your kids home when you go to the beach, you can sit and watch the waves for as long as you want. No one will complain that they want to do something else. No one will get too close to the edge. No one will ask you to carry them up the steep hill when it's time to leave.
And after you hike out and get back to your car, if you want to lean your seat back and take a nap, you can. You can sleep for 30 minutes if you want. And when you wake up and see some people looking out into the ocean with binoculars, you can ask them what they see. And when they tell you they see whales, you can see the whales too. For as long as you want. (whales not pictured)
If you don't bring your kids with you when you go to the beach, you can go to a 16 and over concert at a casino and hear the B-52s. The B-52s!!! And they will sing Love Shack and Rock Lobster and you can scream and dance and wave your arms like a crazy person and no one will be embarrassed of you.
And if you don't bring your kids with you to the beach, it will feel great when they run up and give you a hug when you come home. It will feel great when they ask you to tuck them in at night and to give them a kiss. Especially if the child asking for you to tuck and kiss is your 13-year-old.
And when things get harried--when the school bus is coming down the street and no one can find their shoes--you can take a deep breath and close your eyes and remember the amazing time you had at the beach with your husband when you left the kids at home. And you'll feel just a little bit calmer.
After you find the shoes and get those kids on the bus, of course.