It’s No Honeymoon! – A Memoir of Rome, Italy

The Roman Forum

We stepped off the plane; the morning sun hit our tired eyes.  It had been a long flight after a long, hectic stretch in our respective jobs. But we made it; we could finally relax and have some fun together in Rome.

In the distance we heard a cry—a whimper at first, then a howl.  We looked for the source toward the back of the jet way.  As our glances turned downward, reality hit us.  Those were our kids screaming.

What were we thinking?  Taking a red-eye to Europe for a sightseeing trip with two four-year olds?  The disaster that unfolded later that morning was no better than the wake-up call at the airport.

As I checked into our hotel, my daughter threw herself down on the lobby floor, amidst Italian businessmen, too tired to stand.  My son, having found a hidden nugget of energy, was running around a large column in the adjacent lounge.  A quick, panicked glance to my husband and he was off to reel in the thrashing animals that were our children.  It was too late.  I looked over my shoulder to find my son sitting on a step, blood running down his forehead; he had run into a “wait to be seated” sign.  Feeling the urgency of our situation, the kind woman behind the counter handed over our room key.  I mumbled something about calling down later as we whisked our kids to the elevator.

Hours later, our kids woke up and we grabbed a bite to eat around the corner for dinner.  By 7 pm, two mini-tantrums later and a daughter fast asleep again in my husband’s arms, we wondered how we would make it through the next four days.

The next morning we had a private tour of ancient Rome; we braced ourselves.  The tour proved invaluable, as we were not only able skip long lines at the Colosseum and rest and cool off in a car between sites, but also because somewhere between the guide’s suggestion that we take a picture of the Roman Forum from the hilltop and move on to quicker, quirkier sites like the Mouth of Truth and the Knights of Malta keyhole, we discovered the crazed kids from yesterday had been replaced with our adventurous, sweet, oftentimes silly, children we knew from before. Alas, after spaghetti and gelato for lunch, they wanted to swim and read back at the hotel. I guess we wouldn’t see any more “sites” that day.

That night, as the kids drifted off to sleep, my son asked excitedly what we were going to see tomorrow and I heard my husband uncork the bottle of Italian wine we picked up earlier in the day.  I smiled gently, knowing this was going to be a great trip.