Ok, not the newpaper. This is just my post on my trip to LA that I know all 6 of you have been waiting for . . .
First, it had been about 4 years since my last solo trip anywhere. I know lots of moms never get this opportunity, but once every 4 years isn’t extravagant; is it? To put this in perspective, 4 years ago, I was only leaving Mark to care for 3 young children instead of 4. Charis wasn’t even a thought at that point. Also, the last solo trip was to attend a women’s retreat. It was a good time and all, but it was still a “conference.” You know what I mean! The trip to LA was a bit surreal. I was walking through the airport with no children calling out to me. Yes. I missed them. But it was great to just decide to go into a store on my own without worrying about who would touch what, etc., etc.
Once I got to LA, Michelle met me at the airport. The next day, the two of us footloose “gals” headed out to Universal Studios. Cheesy touristy thing to do? Yes. Of course. But it was fun, and on our little tour bus we drove past the street where they were filming Desperate Housewives. It was too far away to see any actors, but I did recognize the big yellow house that the Solices live in on the show.
On Friday, Michelle and I headed to Huntington Gardens. It was beautiful, and we walked through most of the Japanese Garden and had “high tea” in the tea room on the gardens’ grounds. It was a nice girly kind of day. We topped off the day with steaks cooked by the man of the house and a get-together with the women from their new church.
Saturday was spent with the whole Craw clan driving around Hollywood and browsing at the LA Farmer’s Market. We stopped in the American Girl Store near there, and I picked up a new brush for Evangeline’s Samantha’s thick black hair.
On Sunday, I enjoyed worshipping with the young congregation of St Andrew’s Community Church. The liturgy was oddly familiar, and the core-group of believers rendered it robustly. My trip ended Sunday afternoon with a direct flight back to St Louis on an half-empty plane where I could relax and read without any of the typical cramped quarters in the coach section of airplanes.
When I arrived home, Mark and the kids greeted me warmly. They were happy to have me back, but I know my time away this time was easier on Mark than it was 4 years ago even though there’s one more child. This time, instead of a 6-, 4-, and 3-year-old, he had a 10-, 8-, 7 and 3-year-old. Those years of maturity made a difference to him. Sending them to school two of the days I was gone probably made it easier, too!
I don’t know when I’ll get to go on a little vacation by myself again, but I sure enjoyed some time to myself as well as some uninterrupted conversation with Michelle. It was a nice break from our somewhat stressful reality.