It’s MEA and that means the kids don’t go to school for a few days. Sometimes we take a little road trip or my mom gets off in the car for a long weekend. This year, the three children went north to grandmother and grandfather. I don’t know who was more excited, my parents, my kids or me.
My mom approached me with the idea about a week ago. She had obviously been thinking about it for a while and I could tell by her tone of voice that she missed them. When I told her that sounded like a great idea, I could feel her excitement through the phone. When I told my kids that they were going up north for the weekend, my oldest daughter put her hands over her mouth and screamed. You would have thought I just told them they were going to Disneyland. They all quickly cleaned their dishes and started packing.
Then there is me. Four days without my three children at home. I literally don’t see any downside. At first I felt a little guilty, but it quickly disappeared. Soon my head filled with all the plans and things I could accomplish in their absence. Then my mind went to the places I could go and the things I could do.
Reality has set in and I realize that my kids really aren’t stopping me from doing anything. I didn’t do exactly any projects and didn’t deep clean anything. My husband and I went to dinner and see a movie the other night, but we could still do it with my kids at home. Probably the biggest change is that we can watch whatever TV program we like while still eating the foods our kids hate.
I have a smaller house. I used to think about improving it, but I kinda like how it forces us to spend time together. In the last few days I have realized how big our house is. When there are only two people around, you really don’t need that much space. I noticed how calm it is too. The first two days of my children’s absence, the silence made me happy. Now the lack of laughter and screaming kind of makes me miss it.
I appreciate little breaks like this. It allows me to take a step back and really see and appreciate what I have. It is so easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday tasks. Prepare them, clean them, drive them, feed them, clean them again, feed them again, put them to sleep… The expression is that the days are long, but the years are short. These little mini vacations from my children help me realize how quickly time flies.
I might not get anything I wanted to do during this break, and that’s okay. I was able to watch good movies and eat good food. I am ready for them to come home. I can’t wait to be sandwiched between them on the couch while watching one of their goofy TV shows. Absence really makes the heart more loving.
Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and dream maker. His column appears every Saturday.