This post is by K.
We just got back from a weekend trip to NYC. Back when we had fewer grown-up bills and responsibilities, we used to go to NYC once a year or so to indulge in some musicals and theatre. It was our thing. The last couple years, we have taken short trips here and there–Toronto, Florida–usually to catch a concert or event. But this was our first NYC trip together since 2009.
When we first decided to make a boobaloo, we made a list of the things we’d need in order to feel ready, our pre-baby baby plan. One, which I put on the list, was a last adult vacation. No, not like a hedonist resort a la Rosie O’Donnell in Exit to Eden. Like, something memorable we probably wouldn’t do after we had kids. Because having kids limits your vacation time and your social time. A 2011 study found that parents had 90 minutes a day of free time. Yikes.
W and I go out when we want to go out. We can eat in a quiet restaurant. We go grocery shopping at 3am sometimes. We stay up until 3 or 4am most nights. We have been known to sleep in until the early afternoon on Saturdays. On special occasions, we splurge on things that we probably couldn’t afford if we had kids, early admission floor seat Lady Gaga tickets, a one-on-one beluga whale interaction experience at Sea World (I had some vegan ethical feels about this, but it was very cool, and it was on W’s bucket list), an unplanned shopping spree. We put ourselves first and there is nothing wrong with that.
I think the biggest thing that I feel I’ll be giving up is autonomy over my free time. I’m sure that it will be worth it, but there will be days when I will really miss being childfree. So I wanted one last adult couples vacation. We looked at Olivia lesbian cruises (after finding out that they are relatively trans-friendly), other cruises, a Cape Town vacation, swimming with great white sharks (another W bucket list item).
But as time got closer, I decided that I really wanted to get down to business, that a smaller vacation would be OK in the interest of buying up some spermies. I know I still have some time and that that the fertility industry tries to scare us into thinking our ovaries are becoming shriveled little prunes after the age of 30 with outdated and unfounded statistics. But I also know we have to pay-up to get me knocked up, so playing it casual with getting pregnant could be expensive.
Earlier this fall, I got W tickets to a Giants game at their home stadium, his first live game experience, for his birthday. (As luck would have it, the Giants tanked this year, so the Giants were already out of the playoffs before we even saw the game. And they were playing the team that is best in the league this year. Double whammy.) We were going to NYC/NJ anyway, so we decided to extend this into our last couple’s vacation. Not our last vacation, period, but our last spendthrift vacation.
We decided to go to Sleep No More on Friday night. I saw this show when I was in NYC alone for a work trip earlier this year. After I saw it, I knew I wanted to go back again. I also thought, “W would love this.” If you don’t know about Sleep No More, it’s a very off-broadway “immersive theatre” show by Punchdrunk. It is hard to describe succinctly, other than that it is incredible, thrilling, and transformational. I won’t give away more details because I think you should all go (if you can afford it) and experience it yourself, but a quick Google search will turn up reviews, personal experiences, and whole blogs devoted to this theatre piece.
W was nervous going in, but he loved it. As soon as we left, we started thinking about what we would do differently if we could experience Sleep No More again. So we decided, on a whim and against our better judgement, to blow another $200 we didn’t really have and go again on Saturday night. SantaCon and a NYC snowstorm (which is, like, 4 inches of snow–no big deal for us Upstate NYers) kept a lot of people from coming, so there was a relatively small audience. Because of the small audience, W and I saw each other during the finale–by chance, since we chose to experience the show alone, separately–and silently found each others hands in the dark during the haunting final moment. It was sweetly romantic and extremely intimate and kind of the perfect way to end the night.
On they way home, I mused that this was exactly the kind of thing we wouldn’t do with kids in tow. Number one, there’s an age restriction on Sleep No More (with good reason). But, moreoever, our lives will be filled up with other responsibilities and experiences and adventures. We will be able to get babysitters sometimes and our parents may be able to help out, if they are up for it…but it will be different. Quite frankly, we may not have the money to do this stuff even if we have the desire and time.
We may also not want to take vacations without our kids. Giving our future kid travel experiences is something I want to be able to do. I have great memories of the trips my family took ever summer. W’s family went up to the family camp every summer, something that W still enjoys doing and we’ll want to share with future kid. At the end of the day, once we have a kid, our relationship will not be the most important thing in our family anymore, or, rather, the only important thing.
I feel content with this experience as our final kid-free getaway. It’s not swimming with sharks or a Caribbean cruise, but it was kind of perfect for who we are as a couple. It also signifies the official aggressively-pay-down-debt-and-start-saving phase of our boobaloo plan. In this time 2 years from now, we will likely be up at 2am and having new experiences together and “sleep no more” may mean something else entirely. Or so we hope. And when we do have the opportunity to do us-only stuff, it will be all the more meaningful.