Typically my husband and I are that annoying childless couple who can just decide to up and go away for the weekend. But this year - with a lot of loss and a lot of personal goals - we've found getting away together particularly challenging.
In fact, we really can't actually remember the last time we were on a vacation together.
So, on Friday of last week, we hopped in the car and drove two hours east to New Bern, NC for a long weekend getaway.
At this river front town, we stayed at the The Aerie Inn, ate way too much at Persimmons, discovered our favorite oyster bar seats at Morgan's, and we just meandered in and out of the little shops, antique stores, and up and down the historic neighborhoods.
While we were walking on the riverwalk on Friday night, we stumbled on a placard ad for a river tour that described the event as eco-friendly and serene. And with this picture of the Captain and his First Mate, how could you NOT want to go?!
When we arrived for the boat tour on Saturday, we found there was just one other woman who would be joining us. She had a look to her - that look where you know she's in the middle of something real deep. She mentioned how she was looking for a new place to live, and that New Bern was a possibility.
As we set out on the river, Captain Jack asked if any of us had ever taken a New Bern boat tour before, and I said in typical Liz-oversharing-stream-of-conscious-rambling: "I was just in New Bern a few weeks ago by myself to finish a book, not that I did finish it. But while I was here I wanted to take a boat tour, but I just couldn't bring myself to go without my husband. I know that sounds terrible. Like I should be stronger than that. Like what's wrong with me? I'm an embarrassment to women."
So, instead of having a boat tour therapy session with Captain Jack, we spent the next hour and a half looking for osprey nests, sunbathing turtles and Nicholas Sparks' ex-wife's house.
On the way back to the docks, Captain Jack offered to let us steer the boat, and while Ken was guiding us back to the port like a boss, that other woman leaned over across the boat and said to me:
"I heard the words you said about feeling like you should be able to go out on a boat tour without your husband. I lost my husband last year, so please listen to me on this. Don't you dare ever feel badly for wanting to share your life with your husband. Don't ever feel badly for letting him be your best friend. Love him, love him, love him while you got him."
I've never needed to hear something more in my life.
These are the sorts of every day angels who are all around us.