After a switchbacking drive into the mountains, Allan and I are at Alpes d’Huez. It is a ski resort that was recommended by a teacher at our school who takes students on ski trips here so it has a dormitory vibe. I kind of like that. It’s basic and our breakfast, dinner, room, and ski gear are all included. All we have to do is eat, ski, sleep, think, and talk.
It is always a transition for us after we have been with our sons for a period of time. We want to maximize every second with them and we have such a full time, but then they are suddenly gone and we look at each other and think, well, it’s you and me again. You can almost audibly hear a down-shifting between us. We don’t need to make dinner plans for four, keep the group entertained, or laugh at all of the jokes. We can be spontaneous and even quiet if we want to.
You hear about couples who get into troubled waters when their kids leave home. I can understand why. People change more than they think they will as the years go by. You’ve heard the warning that if you want to know what your spouse will be like, just look at his or her parents. I think when I reached 40 or 45 and I didn’t seem to be exactly like either of my parents, I thought I had broken the mold. But then 50 came and I see mannerisms creeping up on both Allan and me that are inbred. Some things we are aware of and some we aren’t. They aren’t all bad, but it might take quite a lot of determination to avoid others. It might get interesting.
Yet, when we have some demand-free time to just exist together, we get back into our friends element. I still really like being with Allan. He’s funny, kind, smart, and athletic. I don’t see us hitting the marriage wall and my advice to friends who are in the thick of child-raising is to tend your relationship with your mate. You’re going to need someone you like being with when your kids get on an airplane and leave one day.
We need a segue here. It’s New Year’s Day and it has been many years since I haven’t been on my Lummi Island farm for this day. It might be my favorite day of the year. Our best friends come out and we have our Polar Bear swim in Rosario Strait, then it’s up to the hot tub and a highly caloric feast.
Last year, I made French food: bouillabaisse, fondue, and couer a la crème. This was just weeks before I started photographing every bite I ate for a possible blog entry so I don’t have photos of the food. I only have one of the kids who we made eat outside because the house is small, it was a beautiful day (although cold), and they are really noisy. This explains why they look sad and seized up.
Today I had a fondue lunch with just my husband in the Alps. I definitely never saw that coming a year ago.
I miss my friends, our farm, and our kids, but being here with Allan is just fine, too.