Right now our home is strangely quiet. In fact, it's just me and the cat. For the next 4 days, the little boys are at my parents' house, three hours away. And while they are loud, even their voices don't travel that far!
We are very lucky. Our boys have wonderful grandparents that adore them. This week they have a couple of days off school (one of which I still have to work), so my mom and dad asked if they boys could come to their house for a while. The boys were THRILLED! Not a bit of fear about leaving mom and dad - just excitement about having Mema and Papa all to themselves. After I left for work this morning, they headed out.
I'll admit it. I've been looking forward to this time, too. The idea of hours on end without someone who needs a bottom wiped or a glass of milk poured sounds amazing. There are Christmas projects to be worked on, books to read, movies to watch. In fact, I would need three times as much time to get everything I have in mind done! We are also looking forward to having time as a couple - it's been busy, and while we have more time together than many couples, there's still a "taking care of business" mode that we are in far too often.
But another confession? I'm a little scared. I already miss the after-school hugs and the laughter filling the house. The quiet echoes around me, and the tv noise just doesn't fill the void. While I'm thrilled to not have to do the bedtime routine, the morning without their calls for cuddling will feel empty. And who am I when they aren't around?
It's because of both of those things - the excitement of freedom and the hole-in-the-heart absence - that times like these are necessary for parents. They help us find our way back to ourselves as adults and as couples. But they also help us to appreciate just how wonderfully full our "regular" lives truly are. Without them we can get lost in the day-to-day, glorifying those times before we had children and wasted so much time just being by ourselves. But we also forget why it was we decided to start families in the first place - because there was something missing from those lives.
Trust me - I know I'm lucky to have family who are willing to borrow and spoil our children in the best of ways. This is only our third weekend apart in over 5 years, so it isn't so old hat that we take it for granted. And truthfully, I hope I make it the full time before driving over the mountain to pick up the most precious pieces of my life. But I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't.
What I do know is that this odd bit of quiet is important, needed, and appreciated.