“We’re going on a holiday of our own!”, she beamed. I silently wondered where the holiday would be exactly since I knew that travel was iffy for many reasons. Nonetheless, I was intrigued at her announcement and most of all, I was happy that she’d sounded so happy. COVID-19 has had a tendency to zap the possibility of pre-planned outings over the past couple of years, so when anticipated events actually come to fruition, it’s always a thrill.
In talking, I soon learned that the holiday was really more of a one-night hotel stay on the outskirts of town, but that didn’t take away from the fact that it was a much needed reprieve from the same four walls. For both of them. It had been the same for my husband and I with our recent mountain retreat. Anything that takes any of us away from our long-lasting staycations is undoubtedly welcomed.
As I listened to her schoolgirl-like voice give a detailed account of how, when, where, and why, I felt as though I could see her smile through the other end of the receiver. It turns out that she’d won tickets to a local concert through her revered country and western radio station. Given that the start time was later at night and the venue was a little further away than usual, it was decided that an overnight stay nearby would eliminate some extra nighttime driving.
Since any kind of stay over away from home requires similar preparations with respect to packing and so on, it would indeed feel very much like a trip. By the point at which I was speaking with her, she’d already thought about what they could take with them. In addition, she’d printed off various menus of close-by restaurants that they could choose from before the show was slated to start. She was also pleased that with their room booking, they would have a full-course, in-house breakfast included for only a few extra dollars.
The radio station tickets were clearly more than just a concert win in her eyes, and I understood the many reasons why. So did her husband which is part of the reason why he was the one who suggested the overnight getaway when he first learned about the show. Of course, the late evening aspect of it and not wanting to drive in the dark in unfamiliar territory at age eighty-three was definitely the other reason why he thought the stay would be a good idea.
While a loud concert and hotel sleepover was NOT her husband’s idea of fun at all, it was a sacrifice that he was willing to make knowing how happy it would make his wife of almost fifty-eight years. It is truly endearing. From the long-time couple, I have learned that marriage is definitely a mutual relationship of give and take, especially as older age sets in. Such a loving union means sometimes doing things that you don’t want to, supporting someone in ways that you wouldn’t otherwise, and/or putting their needs/wants above your very own. Empathy, support, trust, consideration, and basic kindnesses become necessary pillars instead of preening, pride, and the need to be proper in front of one another. Now that I, too, am married and learning to accept middle-age, I can honestly say that I have a much better understanding of the meaning of traditional vows such as, “…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health…”.
Later today, I will get to hear all about their little vacation away, and I am very much looking forward to it. I really hope that they had fun and that it will be another fond memory that they can tuck away into their decades old album of life spent together. I am proud to be their daughter and I am proud to call them my parents.