The moment he said, “let’s take a vacation together,” the guilt kicked in. Traveling without my children? Why do I feel so guilty?
Hiking through a beautiful canyon on a scorching summer afternoon I was contemplative, absorbing the peace and quiet of nature, we pause at a small waterfall, bubbling quietly down the side of the rock wall. My much younger, hot and handsome male friend (and occasional lover) stared down at me as he drank some water and said with a confident nonchalance, “We need a break. You and me. We need to relax and get away. Let’s take a vacation together.”
My heart stopped. In the privacy of my mind, I gasped, “Seriously? Us? Take a vacation together? Travel together?” Then out loud, with a slow, inviting smile, I replied “Yes! Yes, let’s do that!” His soulful eyes and delicious mouth grinned. I shivered.
Instantly the guilt kicked in. What about my kids? Damn.
Post-divorce, my kids have traveled more than most kids and families that I know. Between the adventures with their dad and young stepmom and my over compensation for being a busy, professional, working, single mother and needing quality time with them, they are as adept at going through Customs as most adults. Yet the thoughts of telling them that this time Mommy is going alone (or with a friend) is very daunting and makes my heart hurt.
But I want to go with him so bad.
I’ve traveled without them in the past, but they were much younger, when they would miss me but love to be spoiled rotten with Grandma and then dance with joy and squeal with delight when I returned home with gifts in hand. Now they ask, “Why can’t we/I go?” Then the sad faces emerge, their little hearts sinking with disappointment that I get to go somewhere beautiful and have lots of fun and they are forced to stay at home.
My heart sinks with their deflated moods and sad eyes.
I now understand my best friend’s position several years ago when I had convinced her to join me on a beach vacation as my divorce was being settled. She had teenagers at home but she was downtrodden after a nasty divorce and she needed to escape and recharge. My children were still so young, preschoolers, and they didn’t understand the concept (yet) of guilt. My friend did feel it from her teenagers and she struggled with the decision to take a trip without them. The reality was that she couldn’t afford to take them and mentally she needed a break as well. We did end up booking a last minute beach vacation and ran away for eight days. It was glorious, just what the doctor ordered. Drinks, sun, sand, pool, dancing, and meeting some wonderful men who kept us company and helped us get our feminine, sexy groove back. Despite the guilt in leaving her children at home, she never regretted her decision to take that well deserved and needed “me time.” Nothing beats kisses at sunset (or sunrise) on a beach. She returned home much more at peace. It was a good thing.
Why do I feel such guilt?
We have a split custody arrangement and already my children are apart from me, my heart living outside my body and in another home for half the month. They miss me when they are not with me. I miss them. I want to be the best I can be for them, give them my all, my best, my attention and love, show them new places, provide them with new experiences but, most of all, have a lot of fun with them. They are young for such a short time.
Do I have to do that on a beach in the Caribbean or will a camping trip and day trips with ice cream suffice? How sad will they be when I tell them that I need to go away, with a friend, or alone? Will they feel excluded, rejected? Their dad travels often and they don’t seem to care. Yet I feel if it’s me, it’s a different story.
I didn’t have anyone to run away with so, until now, it was a moot point.
The younger man friend of mine returned to my life and new opportunities opened. We had been friends for years. We felt attraction from the start but with over a decade in age gap between us, I wasn’t interested in pursuing it. We were great friends and confidantes, sharing our innermost thoughts and feelings on the world of dating and finding our perfect mates. But we are human and a couple of times our guards were relaxed and we gave in to our impulses. I struggled with it. He was very young at the time and it felt wrong. After the final dalliance, I swore it would never happen again. Maybe it was his age, maybe more my issues.
Eventually, we met our loves and parted ways. I missed him tremendously over the years.
They say the Universe gives you what you need when you need it the most. Struggling with the breakup of my second major relationship, mourning the death of my mother, worrying for my sanity and health in dealing with such stress, my young, old friend reappeared. His relationship had recently ended and he, too, had gone through the throws of heartbreak and loneliness.
We met for drinks and resumed where we left off. Suddenly the age gap wasn’t an issue. Six years had matured him tremendously and I didn’t view him as the boy I did before but now as a man. Albeit the same age gap remained but, in perspective, he was still a grown mature man.
We ended up in bed together that night. It was amazing; fun, hot, energetic, easy, no strings, with the understanding that we were to remain friends and that this was going nowhere.
He helped me regain my confidence, my sexual longings now reignited. He relished in my experience and rewarded me with his energy and enthusiasm. I no longer felt I had to teach him. The years had served him well. He worships me and I adore him for it.
His suggestion is that we take off together for a week, on a beach, reviving our spirits, healing our hearts, energizing our bodies, relaxing our minds, having fun, enjoying sun, sand, drinks, dancing, sleeping and… making love. I am tempted. It would be a lot of fun.
There is nothing planned as of yet. We are both still dating others, pursuing our dream of finding “The One” for us. If that happens for either of us between now and when we leave, the guilt I face about leaving my kids behind will no longer be valid and my self-reproach will be for nothing.
I will confess, as much as I would love for him and I to find “The One,” I’m hoping that they show up after our little escape. A beach with a sexy younger man could be just what the doctor ordered.
The guilt will come regardless. But, as they say, don your own oxygen mask first.
- Traveling Solo! One Way To Settle Into Your Post-Divorce Single Life
- Flying Solo
- Five Men Every Divorced Mom Needs
- Happily Single!