Alone Together

By Melissa Face

Alone Together

“What’s it like?” my mom asked, wanting to know a bit about our anniversary cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“Well, if you’re looking to reconnect with your spouse, this is the place,” I explained. “There’s not much else to connect to. Certainly not Wi-Fi!”

I’m not so attached to my devices that I can’t handle a few days without an internet connection. I have books, magazines, paper and pen. And I have my spouse, my husband of ten years. We are here to celebrate a decade of marriage and spend uninterrupted time together. And at first glance, it looks like we chose the perfect location.

My husband and I have been married for ten years. In the past four, we have brought two children into the world. They are beautiful and precious in every way possible. We enjoy feeding them, bathing them and playing with them. If we are not working, we are spending time with our children. We are doing exactly what we hoped we would be doing at this stage of our lives. We are completely grateful, but utterly exhausted.

When my parents agreed to keep our beloved bundles so we could get away for our anniversary, we started hunting for an ideal setting. Craig wanted a place with a fire pit; I wanted a hot tub. We both wanted quiet and privacy. We found a cabin north of Charlottesville that had all of that and a pool table. We reserved it.

For a couple months, I have looked forward to our anniversary escape. I have longed to relax in the hot tub, talk by the fire pit and sip coffee on the front porch. But more importantly, I have been anxious to reconnect with the man I fell in love with and devoted myself to.

In recent years, my husband and I have behaved more like teammates than spouses. I hate to even commit that thought to paper, but it’s true. I think most couples would like others to believe that their lives drip of romance, and their spouses shower them with rose petals when they walk through the door each evening. But this is how married life really is – for us anyway.

When my husband pulls in the driveway, I wait to see how long it takes him to get out of the car and walk up the steps. I am annoyed if he has to stop and do something completely selfish like bring in the trash can or wipe wet grass off his shoes. He is supposed to come inside immediately and help me. When he enters the house, I regard him as a lifeguard throwing me a raft. I am grateful to be rescued, and I take a moment to use the restroom, return a few calls, and change my clothes.

We spend the rest of the evening like two members of a relay race – exchanging children, trading chores and swapping roles. Right before we call it a night, we might have time to discuss our day or watch a sitcom, but not always.

For the most part, we have gotten this parenting thing down pat. But in the midst, we lost sight of each other. I no longer want to be a wife who resents her husband for stopping to get a burger on his way home from work. I can’t believe this is who I have become. I have allowed life’s stresses to get in the way of loving, but now we have the chance to regroup, renew and reconnect.

That is just what we do. We spend four uninterrupted days in our cabin named, oh so aptly, Mountain Paradise. I watch my husband build a fire and prepare steaks on the grill. We drink wine, discuss our dreams and enjoy one another. For thirty-six hours we don’t hear the slightest hum of a car engine, and our only visitor is a squirrel. There are no glares from streetlights or glows from distant cabins. We are finally alone again, together.

Our retreat ends too quickly, and we are on our way back to our children, our realities. But we vow that things will be different from now on. We promise to take time for each other more often, to remember that in addition to being parents, we are people. We are people who chose each other, people who love each other and people who need each other. We renew our original commitments and make a new one: to escape for a while each year, alone, together.

About this writer

  • Melissa FaceMelissa Face lives in southern Virginia with her husband, son and daughter. Her stories and essays have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort. Email Melissa at writermsface@yahoo.com.

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3 Responses to “Alone Together”

  1. wonderful prose…your writing puts me right there with you…remembering the hustle and bustle of loving and rearing children. keep that promise to each other…for each other. God Bless you both and keep you.

  2. Melissa says:

    Thank you, Millie! I really appreciate your kind words.

  3. Linda O'Connell says:

    This reminded me of the early days with my children when we often lost ourselves in the hustle and bustle of parenting. Love your descriptions of that anniversary weekend and cabin.

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