Often, my life seems to revolve around two things:

  1. Getting both my older children to their activities, and
  2. Making sure my youngest is out of trouble.

You might think that the former would be the most time consuming, but in reality it often feels like the latter. My 2-year-old can find more ways than you might think to get in trouble.

  • He is a master of escape – able to climb through our doggie door to the backyard, unbeknownst to any of us.
  • He can radar-detect and pinpoint the exact location of any hot stove, breakable china, and non-child-proofed object with superhero precision.
  • And, he can trash my middle son’s Lego collection in a single bound.

He is a cyclone of destruction masked by a ridiculously cute, yet devious smile with eyes to kill.

Toddler Looking Sweet

Which is part of the reason why we decided to “escape” this past week as a family unit of only 4 (minus our toddler), for a quick getaway to Kalahari – an indoor/outdoor water park and hotel.

The Great Escape

We enlisted my mom and dad to come help us out overnight with our 2-year-old and snuck away in-between a Tuesday morning swim and dive team practice and a Wednesday morning swim and dive team meet for some quality afternoon/evening, non-toddler time with our 6- and 9-year-old.

We were ALL looking forward to this short trip.

The kids were over-the-top excited to be able to go down any water slide their little hearts desired without the constrictions of their very lovable, but not-yet-water-park-ready little brother.

My husband and I, were looking forward to just hanging out with our older kids – without out the whole “divide and conquer* mentality” that we often have when our toddler is around.
* Divide and conquer = One parent chasing around the toddler and the other relaxing with the older kids

  • We slid through the park not thinking about naps.
  • We ate dinner because we were all hungry and not because our toddler was hungry.
  • We stayed up late, got ice cream, visited the arcade, and watched movies until the wee hours of the night together in our hotel room – not overly concerned about bedtimes, cranky 2-year-olds, and even crankier mom and dads because…

Our 6 and 9-year-old can handle a day of fun without bottoming out in exhaustion. (In fact, I am willing to bet that my husband and I were way closer to bottoming out in exhaustion then our children were.)

Photos from Kalahari Water Park

It was nice to feel free and to really enjoy ourselves as parents. I am not ashamed to admit that sometimes, this whole parenting “gig,” can get the best of me. Occasionally, I just need to escape.

In the back of my mind of course I missed our toddler, but I also loved the freedom of being away from the sometimes overly exhausting responsibility of keeping him and all his superhero-like toddler “powers” safe and under control.

Back to Reality

When we returned from our trip the next day we immediately drove to a dive meet, followed by a swim meet, accompanied by a short dinner and then topped off with:

Utter exhaustion.

And of course we come back to a toddler who, upon our return, dashes through the doggie door leaving a trail of destruction in his path and then proceeds to climb back into the house (through the doggie door of course!) to terrorize my older son’s Lego collection.

In a blink of an eye, we were back to the same-old, same-old.
Kalahari and all of its fun and freedom felt SO far away.

I couldn’t take it any more, so we all went to bed. All of us.

Thursday Morning.

5:30 a.m. – I awoke to subtle aches in my body from using “water park” muscles I never knew I had. Minutes of working in my home office turned into hours, quicker then my toddler can run into the middle of a busy road.

9 a.m. – The house was still unfathomably quiet and unexpectedly motionless.

I woke up the older kids for swim practice and – with hesitation – finally broke down and woke up my toddler out of necessity (because I am still of the mind that you never wake a crazy, destructive toddler unless you need to).

And that is when I felt it. It usually starts with just a feeling… a very small worry within your heart, a feeling that just tugs at you – telling you something is not. quite. right.

My toddler sl-ow-ly woke up – not dashing for the Legos, not sliding down the stars, not even remotely attempting a break for the doggie door. I could tell without a doubt that he was…


The need to escape from the responsibility of a crazy toddler was gone.
And rapidly replaced with:

Love and concern.

As I worked hard to block the worries out of my mind and concentrate on taking care of my son, I began to think of how much I really have.

Our health. Just enough wealth. And a family I love and adore way more often then not.

And I felt grateful. Beyond belief.
For all I have. And all that I don’t have.

And at that time the word “escape” – was the furthest from my mind.

Leave a comment. Do you ever feel the need to escape responsibility only to realize just as quickly how much you never want to loose that responsibility?


This week I am trying something new! I am linking up with Genny Heikka
at My Cup to Yours for her Mom-Monday’s Link-up.

This entry was posted in Family, Motherhood, Travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Escape

  1. angela says:

    We had a night away from both kids this weekend, which I normally love. I missed them a lot this time, though, and I just wanted to see them again 🙂 Of course, that was Saturday. By Sunday I could have used an extra hour to myself 😉 I hope your little guy is feeling better.

    • Kate F. says:

      Thanks for asking – he does seem to be doing better, although not a 100% yet.

      My husband and I try to get away a couple times a year without any kids – typically we keep it to only 1-3 nights away due to that very same problem – we miss all our kids. We all need time away to remind us how much we also don’t need as much time away. Right? 🙂

  2. Pamela says:

    I’m glad you had a nice getaway but I hope your little one is feeling better soon:) I understand about the exhaustion of chasing an active two year old but also how sad it is when they are under the weather and not themselves.

    • Kate F. says:

      It is amazing to see all the energy a 2-year-old has when they are healthy, and then to compare it to how little they have when they are sick. 🙁 Really puts things in perspective Pamela…

  3. Oh, Kate…yes. I relate to this! With kindergarten this fall with my oldest…{sob} I really can’t talk about it without choking up. No. Really. Michigan’s doing “all day every day” with kindergarten this year. I’m not ready to have her gone so much! It’s killing me! But she’s so excited. I don’t want to stifle her joy. So, I cry when she’s not looking.

  4. Kate – how perfectly you wrote this! The need to get away from kids sometimes and how in an instant that doesn’t matter when they need us. Loved every word!

    • Kate F. says:

      Thanks Missy. I keep challenging my self both here and at Mothers Central to write more with less – however writing shorter yet still thought provoking stories that share my weekly “happenings” is way harder than one might think! So glad you enjoyed reading the post and related to it.

  5. Missy says:

    Your escape sounds like so much fun! And I completely get it – needing a break in the vigilance required with a toddler or preschooler is understandable. I have one of those cute troublemakers, too!

    But yes, even in the chaos I feel grateful, and overwhelmed with love for this family. This family that can drive me batty and fill my heart simultaneously.

    • Kate F. says:

      Frustration and Love: Isn’t it amazing how those two feelings can so seamlessly co-exist with each other? 🙂

  6. What great perspective you have, Kate.

    “I felt grateful. Beyond belief.
    For all I have. And all that I don’t have.”

    Isn’t that the truth? Escape is great.
    But there is nothing like having a “home” to return to.

    • Kate F. says:

      I love being able to “capture my perspective” as reflections in my writing here on my personal blog. I’m so glad you also enjoyed my personal reflections Julie.

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