The house is very quiet. Which is not unusual for midday on a Friday. But come 5 o'clock, it's still going to be that quiet. Unusually quiet. Blissfully quiet. Yesterday afternoon, suitcases, snacks and yard games were loaded into Mario's car. There were goodbye hugs all around and waving until they turned the corner and out sight. It's just me and our Little Lion Man for the duration.
I've been looking forward to having our own separate plans for the first part of this summer. If I'm honest, a couple times I've anxiously awaited the solitude, wholeheartedly embracing the idea of a break from the needs of others, but now that it's here I find myself missing their faces. Not in a sad way, but in a gosh, I really, really like those stinkers kind of way.
I think most moms wish for an extended break now and again. Being a mom is hard, yo. I think I'm pretty forthcoming with my feelings, but even I have trouble admitting I sometimes fantasize about being unattached. Like maybe I'll be judged (or judge myself) for wanting something other than what I have. Oh no, what if my sensitivity chip is broken! The fact is, dreaming of a life outside of the home in no way indicates a lack of gratitude. It's okay to admit that one does not always derive personal fulfillment from being a wife and mother. Self-imposed expectations + society can do a number on us, and certain things become harder to express than they should be. (The Mommy Blog culture doesn't help much, either. But that's a post in and of itself.) I wish that weren't true.
Fortunately, I'm not a person who craves the company of others very often. (Having the boys in my life is a happy bonus; they are certainly the exception.) I don't mind going to the movies or eating out on my own. Although I will have moments of loneliness over the next five weeks, I'm sure, this hiatus from motherhood and wifehood is really healthy for me.
It's also the perfect time to start my new job: by the time they come back I will be well into my training and have a clearer picture of what my days + shifts will be like. Adapting to life back at work in their absence will mean less of an adjustment period upon their return. Instead of arranging activities to fill his days while I'm at work, Kiddo will have acres and acres of ranch land as his playground (plus cows to feed, dogs to run around with, and grandparents to spoil him rotten). Grandpa will continue to teach him the ways of a manual transmission and the complex world of crop irrigation. Grandma will spend hours swimming with him in the lake. He and Mario will have some rare and beautiful father-son time while connecting with nature. I'm so excited for them.
We are all where we need to be, doing what we need to be doing right now. Which means we can't all be together this summer. And that's okay. Experiencing the joys of life in the absence of each other only serves to make us closer: it gives us the perspective necessary to appreciate those amazing qualities we each possess as individuals, outside the collective Us. Those qualities that drew us to each other and contribute to the family unit in unique and wonderful ways. I can't wait to hear all about their adventures, and to tell them mine.
At home we often fall into the
How was your day?
It will be nice to shake things up in the way long-distance relationships force you to do. You must communicate and share and show each other how much you care using words. You don't tend to take their presence in your life for granted when you are no longer sharing a bedroom or driving them to school each morning. Those stolen little moments are often the most magical. Dare I say, I may start to actually miss those things I used to perceive as a drag...inconveniences of marriage and motherhood which, deep down, I am quite fond of after all.
Twenty-four hours in and I've become quite nostalgic, no? But I'm also excited as can be.
I can eat whatever I want, when I want to. (Cheese and crackers for dinner at 9p and no one to stop me!)
I can do whatever I want on the weekends because I don't have to consider anyone else's input. (I can visit every store with succulents and garden gnomes in the greater Portland area!)
I can work nights and weekends and not suffer from Mom Guilt (such a terrible, heart-wrenching affliction!).
I can stay at a coffee shop until closing time because no one is waiting for a ride, there is no homework, and dinner doesn't have to be made (see above). Alternately, I can stay at home all day in my pajamas and binge-watch House of Cards on Netflix without feeling like a lazy slob. (I doubt the latter will happen, but I'm liberated just knowing it can.)
I can stay up until midnight devouring a book without worrying I'll keep Mario up all night with my reading lamp or feeling sleep-deprived come 5:45a when the school day alarm goes off. (I can burn the candle at both ends, dang it! Though I'll quickly learn I'm no longer in my twenties, I'm sure.)
I can pee with the door open! (Nah.)
I know I'm missing five million other things that a responsible domestic goddess cannot do with abandon in real life.
Feel free to contribute to the list.