In addition to our family vacation, Kevin and I recently took a much-needed vacation from parenting. During Canada Day weekend, we both found ourselves with a Friday off from work and, much to our surprise, we found that Colin's daycare would be staying open. So rather than keep him home with us like all the other good little parents, we shipped him off to daycare and decided to take one day just for ourselves.
So what to do with a whole day to ourselves? The possibilities were overwhelming, but in the end we decided to do all the things that we couldn't do when we have a toddler in tow.
Number 1: Sit quietly in an outdoor café, while slowly sipping coffee and reading a book. Although we've often taken little excursions to the Duchess Bake Shop, this was the first time we've been without an impatient dog and an impatient toddler. We actually got to savour our Parisian-style croissants--even go back for seconds--while reading whole chapters of our books.
Number 2: Visit galleries and boutiques. I've often passed by the art galleries and clothing boutiques on 124th Street here in Edmonton, but I've never been able to do more than window shop because, well, toddlers and art galleries specializing in wood and glass sculpture just don't mix. But this time, I walked in every single storefront, and even though I walked out empty-handed, it was a very successful shopping trip.
Number 3: Eat at Da-De-Os. Da-De-O's is a gritty hole-in-the-wall Edmonton diner, specializing in Cajun cuisine, and, well, being from southern Arkansas, I love me some po' boys and gumbo. Unfortunately, Da-De-O's is classified as a bar (so no minors allowed), and, consequently, I've never been inside. Of course, Kevin and I could have gone there on one of our date nights, but those are few and far between and are usually reserved for adult dinner parties, trips to the theatre, or special birthday dinners, which do not take place a gritty hole-in-the-wall diners. Despite it's modest surroundings, our lunch at Da-De-O's was fantastic, complete with jalepeño jelly and two rounds of Alley Kat's Blackened Alligator Lager--laissez les bon temps rouler!
Number 4: Go see a movie in 3-D. As mentioned above, our date nights are usually reserved for special occasions, so Kevin and I rarely go to the movie theatre any more. We used to go at least once a week back when we were footloose and fancy free, but now we tend to just download films on iTunes. However, the one thing you can't do on iTunes is watch a movie in 3-D, so on our day off, we really wanted to experience one. Turns out, the only 3-D movie showing was Toy Story 3.
Now you might say that an animated children's movie was an odd choice for our childless holiday, but we've seen just about every Pixar movie and we have loved them all. And Toy Story 3 might be our favourite of the bunch. The characters were just so well-developed (yes, even Barbie and Ken), and the characterizations of childhood and children were spot-on. Kevin and I were rolling in the aisles with laughter during one scene in the baby room at a daycare because that is exactly what it's like at Colin's daycare.
However, for all of it's light-hearted comedy the ending really pulled at the heartstrings. There's a scene at the end (spoiler alert!), in which the mother walks into her son's bedroom after he's packed it up to go to college and sees the empty walls and empty cupboards and starts to cry. Of course then I, too, started to cry and proceeded to bawl my eyes out until the credits rolled. At which point, Kevin and I drove straight to the daycare and picked up our beautiful boy. After all, parenthood--for all of its trials and tribulations--is much too short.