Date nights

By: Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo October 28,2016 - 10:30 PM

NEW YORK — The plane landed on John F. Kennedy International Airport after a 15-hour flight from Guangzhou on board a Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft of China Southern Airlines.

Unlike the June 2016 flight from Los Angeles to Cebu, which lasted for about the same duration, I was well rested in this flight without worrying about soiled diapers or screaming toddlers.

No, I didn’t throw the children out of the window.

Jeff and I just decided — months ago before the commencement of this trip — that the twins and the baby have to stay home with Mom, Ate Joy and a battalion of trusted family members so we can go to our long-overdue vacation.

We believe in vacations.

To us, it is very important that couples with children take time to enjoy life together as a couple outside of the demanding-fulfilling world of parenting.

I am writing this in our hotel room in Manhattan, the day after we arrived in New York. Jet lag won over Jeff while I chatted with CDN’s editorial coordinator, Raffy Escoton, who is also my ninong (wedding sponsor).

It is 8:44 in the morning, and the sun attempted to showcase her beauty in this chilly, breezy weather that reminded me so much of the year that we spent living in Montana — the year that I realized how motherhood can change a woman and why being a stay-at-home mom can be the toughest job any woman can ever have.

That year put a major strain in our marriage. We were tired, exhausted, uninspired, miserable, and we were rubbing the negativity on our children. It was the perfect recipe for marriage disaster and to think we were only married for four years. We were very unhappy.

In 2014, the results of a study, as part of their Modern Fatherhood Research Project, was released. It was conducted by the NatCen Social Research, the University of East Anglia, and the Thomas Coram Research.

Researchers of the study, which used data from 5,000 families in the UK, noted that “a more positive relationship between the mother and the father is linked to being a more involved parent.”

Simply put, the logic goes that if couples are happy, the children are happy, the family is happy.

I am no marriage or relationship expert, but I can very well say that couples need their date nights and couple trips to keep the relationship healthy and to make the family happy.

Marriage is a lot of hard work and conscious, sincere effort to be alone together, away from a toddler’s raging temper or a baby’s cry for more milk.

This does not mean that we do not love our children. Goodness, I love them with every cell in my body. I got all weepy and even contemplated about not going in this annual Jeff-Cris trip because I don’t want to leave my children for 23 straight days.

But this is my extra special time with Jeff… to revisit the years we’ve spent shuttling between mainland China and the Philippines to sustain the long distance relationship… to reminisce the several halfway meet-ups in Hong Kong… to sit down in a restaurant wondering how in the world we ended up together… to talk about our next trip together so there is another adventure to look forward to.

By the time this column comes out, we are already onboard Crystal Serenity of Crystal Cruises, whose management and staff have been so warm and welcoming as we join this voyage from New York to Florida with stops in Georgia, Aruba, Curacao, Turks and Caicos, and Dominican Republic.

I am looking forward to the people we will meet along the way and the experiences we will separately and jointly share in this voyage.

More importantly, I am excited to discover more about my husband.

Last year, I learned that he was a diver and have explored the Great Barrier Reef.

Perhaps this year, he will confess that once in his life he attempted to channel his inner Harrison Ford and auditioned for a role in Hollywood.

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