For all the bitching I do about taking care of my children, I stood listless on my porch this afternoon as I watched them drive away with their grandparents.
When you take away the main reason for my modus operandi, where does that leave me?
A skiff adrift, a compass needle with no magnetic pull, a mother with empty arms and a quiet mind.
I stood there for a moment, thinking I should literally be jumping for joy as I face down a weekend alone with my husband. But I couldn’t get past the immediate feeling of ache. A dull feeling somewhere around my solar plexus as I watch my babies leave.
They waved, and beeped, and yelled goodbye out the window.
And then I thought, okay, now what do I do with these hands, now idle, but so out of practice. The hands and mind forget what it’s like to do something other than the constant care of children.
But once I allowed the thought in, my mind raced with possibilities. I can write on the deck under the umbrella! I can read in the sun. I can put my feet up and have a nice cool drink.
What did I do?
I finished the laundry I’d started before they left. I unpacked the schoolbags they’d forgotten about in their rush out the door. I swept the crumbs they’d left under the table at dinner last night.
Giving me time off is an exercise in futility, no?
Remember when your child was an infant and that hour during which they slept and the floor clear of squeak toys and random detritus was like heaven? And then they woke up and flung everything from its cute little basket and all over the floor all over again?
Now imagine a larger child. Now multiple that by three. Now multiple that cute little basket into one huge mess of stuff. All over the house.
This weekend is like that nap. If I can clear all the stuff away now as soon as possible after their departure, I can enjoy a house free of gak for that much longer. And I rushed around and did it as quickly as I could so I could still get to my laptop and get some writing in before my husband came home.
Time with the hubby is sublime. But it’s also nice to feed our own soul.
What do we go to first? How do we prioritize when every item on the list is important? Dabble in a little of each so we can appreciate each in its contrast? I don’t rightly know. Hell, the one time I clean the house is when I should be eating freakin’ bon-bons while soaking in the bathtub.
I miss myself when the kids are here. I miss my babies when they’re gone. I miss quiet conversations (I’d even go for simply uninterrupted) with my husband. I miss doing whatever the hell I want because no one is demanding anything of me.
I am a contradiction in terms. And I have a whole weekend off to celebrate it.