Separate vacations.  Jerry and I were the types who never took separate vacations.  I don't think it was a deliberate thing, it's just the way it was.  These days, it seems, couples are always doing their girl trips and guy trips.  I think in our 38 years of marriage we have each taken one trip without each other.  He went golfing and I went on a singing competition.  That was decades ago. Well, this weekend all of our neighbors seemed to be having a girls weekend.  One, with all her old college friends.  The other came down to the beach with her girlfriends from Greensboro.  There they were, on their decks,  all yucking it up and having a jolly old time, and there I was, getting Jerry showered.  Hmm. 

Anyway, my sweet daughter really wanted me to go out with all these girls for dinner.  They all looked over at our front deck and asked me to join them.  Katie said, "yeah, mom.  You outta go. I'll stay with dad."   All of a sudden, I got all excited.  Like a wild woman.  (Trust me.  I"m not a wild woman.)  But for some reason I found myself getting all dressed up in this funky Marylin Monroe T-shirt and skirt ready to do the town!  I lasted until 9:30.  Pitiful!  (Marylin would have been so disappointed!) 

Anyway, while we were out, of my friends surprised me with the fact that she and her husband are planning on coming to stay at our house for a few days with Jerry so I can go away with my daughters.  I didn't know what to say.  She had already discussed it with her husband, gave me the dates, and said, I'd better start planning. 

As wonderful as this sounds, it really tugs at my emotions.  First of all, her offering is so generous.  But, what sticks more in my mind is that fact that I NEED to have someone stay with my hubby so that I can get away.  We've never been away from each other.  Sniff!  Why can't I go away with him?   Because he's sick, that's why!  Sniff!  He's the only one I really like to "play" with.  But, he can't play.  Sniff! 

I suppose I am just going to have to separate my emotions, some how.  Everyone says I need to get away, if I'm going to survive  this caregiver marathon.   Frankly, I think I do pretty well at getting away a couple of afternoons a week.  I suppose I should accept this wonderful and generous gift from my friend even if this is new territory for me. 

Jerry won't like it.  Who's going to turn his water on in the shower?   Who's going to make sure it's not too hot or too cold?  Who's going to put toothpaste on his toothbrush?  He's going to  be embarassed.  I mean, those things are so personal.   Is she going to make him put his jammies on or can he just plop into bed like he sometimes does?   Not that my friend will mind at all.  She has a handicapped daughter and knows the importance of respite from daily caregiving.  Her daughter has cerebral palsy and severe behavioral disabilities.  She seems to have mastered the balancing act of her motherly emotions and caregiving.    I don't know how she's done it.   She has a wonderful supportive husband and family and CAPP services.  I suppose she's learned a lot in her 21 years.

Her example has been to good for me.  Maybe God put us together.  Ya think?   We've got a long way to go.  Our journeys aren't over yet.