September 13 was my 15th wedding anniversary. I had hoped to manage a major trip that involved air travel, sun screen, and no regard for time as it relates to wine intake. The economy, our 3 busy children, and dreams of new furniture and a new running watch changed that approach. With the babysitter booked, the bar lowered and my pouting complete, we set off to New Jersey where my husband had to work for a few days.
In it for me:
- mucho time (3 days) without the demands of mothering my cherubs or my jobs
- opportunity to read, run, and practice yoga guilt-free (score)
- a chance for downtime and small talk with someone I’ve known for 16 years
So I adjusted my expectations from hot, sweaty…(get your mind out the gutter) island fun to low key time away and headed North on 95.
Night number 1, we stayed here:
This is the 110-year old home of a customer/friend of Mike’s. I had hoped it was haunted but to no avail. I had no paranormal experiences unless you count me trying desperately how to get the 110-year-old claw foot tub to act like a shower.
Nights 2 and 3, we stayed here:
I know it looks a lot like the Four Seasons, but it’s the Hampton Inn. Because I had adjusted my dream, it was A-Okay.
Night 2 was our actual anniversary and we ended up here for dinner:
It looks like Italy, but it’s not. I am not letting go of that dream but for now, Bella Cassina in Denville, NJ worked out just fine.
Here we are:
I am really not that miserable. The bartender couldn’t figure out how to use my camera. And so here we talked about our dreams. I have many and I believe life is long and short all at once.
My dreams include:
- Writing a book.
- Traveling with my yoga.
- Adopting a child from another country.
- Completing a half ironman (there, I said it.)
- Setting up a non-profit foundation/agency.
- Being around long enough to see my children have children (my mother wasn’t and it still cracks my core. She was the very best grandmother who never met her grandchildren – actually she was blessed with a short time with one out of 18 and counting)
I firmly believe everyone has a rich story to tell about their life. Of note about the first 8 years of the last 16 years of mine include:
9-13-1996 I met Mike Norman
11-9-1996 I went on a date with Mike Norman
1-12-1997 My beloved mother died. Sudden.
2-1-1997 Mike Norman asked me to marry him.
9-13-1997 I married Mike Norman. (Do the math)
6-3-1998 I gave birth to Nicholas Michael Norman (Do the math)
3-16-2000 I gave birth to Kathleen Ann Norman (Do the math)
7-18-2003 I gave birth to Jane Van Norman (Math isn’t that significant.)
10-12-2004 M y beloved father died. VERY SUPER SUDDEN. (Do the math, I’m way too young for this.)
I feel for my husband, really, to have married into such a whirlwind of joy and loss and love and grief and passion and dreams. And after all these years, even though we need new furniture and we are in NJ and not Naples – we are so rich.
For the record, we worked in 2 good runs, 1 Bikram Yoga class, sushi, golf, and really good…. coffee.
So next time someone suggests I spend a significant event in NJ – I may say:
Ever been to Jersey? What was it like?