“Oxygen masks will drop down from above your seat. Place the mask over your mouth and nose. If you are traveling with children, make sure that your own mask is on first before helping them.”
Nobody had to tell you this line was taken from an airplane safety guide. You’ve heard it before and know you need to help yourself before assisting others. In the case of an airplane accident, you (the parent) need to put on your oxygen mask first so you are able to take care of your kids in the minutes to come. Of course, that means going against your gut instinct of always taking care of them first.
You probably know where I’m headed when the “take care of yourself before assisting others” line meets taking a parents getaway. Your kids? You gotta leave them for a weekend to invest in your marriage, because they need you.
The greatest gift a parent can possibly give to their child is not college, lots of toys, or a brand new car on their sweet sixteen. It’s a stable, godly home. That gift also happens to be quite possibly the very hardest one to give them.
Growing up with the Weekend to Remember
The day my parents returned home from the Weekend to Remember® felt like Christmas morning. Of course, there were no presents wrapped in bows. Instead, I was gifted with feeling utterly secure and loved because I knew how much my parents loved each other.
Not only did I feel safe and secure, but my parents would tell my siblings and me some of the things they had learned. They showed me through their everyday lives that great marriages take work, preparing me (in ways they probably didn’t even know) to someday step into that mindset too.
Growing up, the epitome of my marriage dreams was going to a marriage getaway, not riding off on a horse with Prince Charming to a castle. I learned from my parents that marriage is not what Disney tells us it is. Cinderella and Prince Charming can’t live happily ever after in their palace without a whole lotta work to stay in love.
Colossians 3:14 says, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Tenaciously putting the other before themselves, my parents showed me real love goes beyond a princess with 70 feet of magical hair, being kissed awake from a deep slumber, or having a glass slipper slide perfectly onto my foot. I’ve grown up knowing I want real, selfless love because of their example.
You probably don’t live in a palace, but you do have something Cinderella and her one true love didn’t have: the Weekend to Remember. An opportunity to take a parents getaway and focus on your true love with speakers, intentional conversations, and alone time—all in one.
But of course … you have to leave your kids. So here are some thoughts from a seasoned Weekend to Remember kid to help you know what it’s like from our perspective.
Is it really okay to leave our kids for a parents getaway?
My parents have been going to the Weekend to Remember every year they’ve been able. One might think because they left my siblings and me behind, I would’ve hated it. Was I ever excited for them to leave? No. But once they left, I had a blast with my grandparents. We got mac and cheese, cookies, lots of TV, epic bedtime stories, and great quality time. The funny thing is that once my parents left, I was completely fine … but they were not.
I’m pretty sure my mom cried every time she left us. But this guilt is not something only moms experience. Dads, I know you feel it too. Honestly, that’s okay. It shows you love your kids like crazy and want the best for them; which, in this case, may mean leaving. (Trust me. They seriously don’t hate it as much as you imagine.)
Kids are way smarter and have way more understanding of the world around them than adults often give them credit for. I knew when my parents went away for the weekend, they were getting super important time together—just the two of them.
I also knew what my siblings and I were getting out of the deal: a mom and dad with a strong marriage. We knew they cared enough about us to leave for a short time.
My parents loved each other well, sacrificing themselves daily for the other. I never heard them yell while I was growing up because they intentionally learned how to address conflict. They disagreed, of course, but set an example of hearing out the other person’s side and always going back to prayer and Scripture.
Put your marriage first
Going to a Weekend to Remember was the greatest gift my parents have given me. They continue to give it every year by attending this awesome parents getaway. And every year, I’m grateful for their intentional love, the marriage they exemplified to me, and how I learned through them what real, everyday fairy tales are made of.
How many kids get to grow up wanting a marriage like the one they see in their home? Whether or not this was your experience, it’s exciting you have a chance to change future generations. What life could you give to your future grandkids? By putting your marriage first, you get this opportunity!
If you’re considering attending a Weekend to Remember but feel selfish leaving your kids, please don’t. Leaving them behind is likely worse for you than it is for them. If your kids are old enough, explain how you’re leaving because you love them enough to want to give them the best parents possible. Let them know you are taking a parents getaway because you treasure them, not because you’re trying to get away from them.
Let go of that feeling of guilt! I say this as a kid who wanted to work at FamilyLife to help spread the mission my parents showed me. You are worth the investment!
Thanks, Mom and Dad, for creating such a beautiful life for your family. I love you!
Copyright © 2023 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.
Chloe Whiteford is a writing intern for FamilyLife at Cru headquarters in Orlando, Florida. Her home base is McEwen, Tennessee. Regardless of where she is, you can most likely find her in her kitchen baking something (hopefully) delicious.