Five years ago Tim and I took a “baby moon” – I was pregnant with our first – to Paris. Since that time, we’ve moved, started three new jobs (between the two of us) and had two more children: Life has been moving – as Tim likes to say – full blast. Last week, Tim and I went back to Paris. It was our first trip alone together since Eleanor was born 5 years ago and the only time we’ve traveled together without kids.
It was magical. We slept in, we strolled for hours without a plan or destination, we stopped along the street for no reason at all to browse the street vendors’ wares, we sipped coffee in the sun at sidewalk cafes without worrying who was playing too close to traffic. We carried on entire conversations that weren’t about Frozen or poop or why we need to sit down when we’re eating. We carried on so many conversations, in fact, that we felt at times like we kind of ran out of things to say. Which was nice, because sometimes you don’t have to say anything at all and that’s the best way to be with each other. We don’t get to do that at home much anymore.
I was reminded about all the reasons I love Europe and cities and European cities and traveling and traveling to European cities. I was reminded of all the reasons I love my husband, too and how traveling to European cities is really fun with him. Thankfully, I was also reminded about all the reasons that not traveling to European cities – and just staying home – is also enjoyable with him. I imagine there are people who take trips like this and find themselves at a bit of a loss as to what to do with one another. I’m not so naive as to think that this will never happen to us, but it certainly hasn’t yet and I take that as a good sign.
Mid week we traveled from Paris to Montpellier, where Tim attended a conference. Although I took a while to warm to the city, it’s charm emerged and I spend my days wandering the narrow street, peering in shop windows, and soaking in the Mediterranean sun. We shared several meals – and several bottles of wine – with new friends from around the country and pretended that we were young again. (Which is to say that we stayed up until 2 am!)
But I won’t lie. The adjustment back home has been tough. I stopped getting to sleep through the night. I started managing home and work and kids again. I was thrown full force into planning for our move this summer. Tim, too, has been buried in grant writing and planning and grading. We’re back to going to bed early and getting up early and feeling a bit like ships passing in the night. In fact, Tim came down one morning and asked me “Who are you?”
But somewhere, deep down, I am that same person that he was traveling with. And somewhere, deep down, I am that same person he traveled with 5 years ago. I was reminded on this trip that those parts of me are still there: I might carry a little more weight, physically and mentally, and have a few more wrinkles, but it’s still me. And it’s still him. And – as an outcome of a trip like this – I couldn’t have hoped for more.