Monday, May 11, 2009

Gourmet Weekend

For my 30th anniversary, my wife treated me to a gourmet weekend in Burg-Reuland, a small community in the province of Li├Ęge, Belgium. As a special bonus, she also invited our close relatives (brothers and sisters, parents, and children) to join us. My father-in-law had some prior engagements, so he couldn't join us. We also decided it would be best for our son to relax in a familiar environment with not too many people (what with all the hospital-adventures he's been through in the last few months), so my mother-in-law volunteered to stay home with him (for which we were, of course, immensely grateful!)

We arrived at the hotel on Friday afternoon, and stayed until Sunday afternoon. All meals were included and most were four courses, except for the meal on Saturday evening, which was a six-course dinner. Other than eating, we relaxed on the terrace overlooking the fishpond, went for a stroll through the village and surrounding country, or played boardgames. We all had a terrific weekend, despite one of the playing cards from my Shadows over Camelot boardgame getting caught in the wind and sinking in the fishpond. Which reminds me, I still have to order a new one.

Now, this wouldn't have been a blogpost, if I didn't have any musings on the topic. In fact, I have two.

First of all, it occurred to me how much happier our daughter was, with her brother not around. Not that she doesn't like him, though - she always enjoys watching her brother play and they both get along very well - but he always takes the center of attention, leaving her to mostly entertain herself. This time, though, she got passed from one person to the other, was fed bottles by nearly everyone present, was constantly played with, talked to, and cuddled. I've never seen her smile so much. She's an amazingly sweet girl, and I don't even enjoy half of it, so I've decided to pay her a lot more attention and spend a lot more time with her from now on.

Secondly - and this one wasn't a musing as much as it was a hammer on the head - I've come to realize, since I live in Dendermonde with my wife and children, how much I miss my parents, brother, and sister. The little time we spent together this last weekend reminded me so hard of our childhoods, the fun my brother, my sister, and I had together, and the conversations we held with our parents at the table, that our parting and saying goodbyes hit me like a train; I've been overly emotional ever since we got back, and I admit to breaking up in tears on more than one occasion by now. Much of it might be because of the exhaustion of the past half year, but some of it roots in these family ties for certain. So, I would also like to spend more time with them.

This might turn out to be a problem, though. I also decided to spend more time with our son, because he needs the care and attention now more than ever; I need more time for myself to blow some steam every now and then; and I don't want to spend any less time with my wife, because she deserves a lot of love and attention too (because if it weren't for her...)

I think it's about high time for some changes.