Last year when Jay first brought up going away together for our tenth wedding anniversary this year, I immediately said no. For years now I’ve lived with the motto that if I am not at work, then I should be with them. Going back to work was made tolerable because my mother was my babysitter when they were small infants. Neither went into a daycare setting until they were two.
I miss so much of their everyday being away (with my crew, sometimes that’s not a bad thing) that I am not inclined to leave them without cause. We rarely have date nights, so to go on a trip without them and to put them off on my parents, for enjoyment…didn’t seem right. They are a lot to take. The idea was shelved for a few months.
As they’ve gotten older though, I’m coming to a realization. I’m a person too. Yep, radical concept, right? And even though I am not with them all day long, I am still working. I run from morning until night and sometimes in the middle of the night, if needed too. I begin to see that part of my problem is that I don’t do anything for me, except eat. And I’m not able to give them the best mom possible. I don’t have luxury of quantity so I need to shoot for quality in the time I spend with them.
Part of parenting is letting go. That is the end game of being a parent. You raise them and give them everything and they leave you. You have done your job as a parent if they leave you and start good lives of their own.
Ultimately, I knew that they would love spending time with their grandparents. And my parents would enjoy some of their time. I knew it would be difficult on my mom, so we arranged with my in-laws to take them two days during the day. And that it would be a chance for me to rest. So we made plans to go away during WC’s spring break from school.
CJ, had only recently, spent the night away from home for the first time. He went to my parents along with his brother for an overnight visit in February. Since, he moved to going to preschool full time- he was now eligible for overnight visits.
We explained to the kids in advance that they were having a sleep over at Nana's for an entire week. They loved the idea. The day before we left I was completely convinced that I did not want to do this. But we’d already paid for it and I can’t waste money. So I sucked it up and didn’t say a word.
And for the most part they were fine that week. My mom said Tuesday night, WC had gotten over tired that day and cried that he would never see me and Jay again. She assured him that we would return and he was fine the rest of the week. One night she made the mistake of falling asleep before they went to sleep and she woke up the next morning and they had strung toilet paper all over the house.
The day we returned, they were happy to see us. At the same time they were sad to leave the house that spoiled them rotten. WC has tried several times to tell me of their adventures at Nana’s-things she let them do that I don’t at home and I simply tell him, “What happens at Nana’s, stays at Nana’s.” If I do not know about it then I cannot be mad about it. It doesn’t matter what he does there, the rules at home do not change. When we picked them up they were in the same condition as when we left, that’s all I care about.
Our week away brought about an unforeseen change in CJ, though. On the way home that day he’d fallen asleep in the car and I brought him in and put him on the couch and he slept there for about three hours or so. When he woke up I was in the recliner. He came over and crawled in my lap and hugged and kissed me numerous times. We snuggled there for the longest and he kept telling me that he loved me. We’ve been back a week and half and it still hasn’t changed. Before, he never told me that he loved me unprompted. I’d tell him then he’d respond to me that he loved me too. But now he randomly comes up to me and hugs, kisses and tells me that he loves me. He yells it to me out the car window when he and Jay leave in the mornings and when I put him to bed he yells it to me as I’m closing the door. I’m soaking in all this affection. I hope it lasts for a long time.
While we enjoyed our trip together, we are not looking to go away for an extended time without them again anytime soon. I would love to take another trip with them- part of the fun is watching them have a new experience. But, I'm thinking that it is okay to have a night without them every now and then.
I’m still trying to figure out what the balancing act is going to be. I’m thinking of keeping the Saturday morning yoga class for now and seeing if that is enough of a recharge. I’m not sure if complete balance is possible, but I’d like to get closer than I am now.