Yesterday we spent the day at the cabin and it was one of those glorious spring days where, if the air temperature is not technically warm enough for shorts, the sunshine and lack of wind make it so. I sprawled in a chair with my face tilted up to the sky, wrinkles and age spots be damned, as the boys careened from one edge of the yard to the other and shouted hup two three four hup two three four at each other. I was thinking for maybe the millionth time how much more I am enjoying parenthood now that they’re older — now that, frankly, it’s not so goddamned stressful. Despite its bucolic family-friendly appearance, the cabin is actually pretty rough on parents of very young kids: in one direction you’ve got the grassy yard ending in a startling downward slope that ends in the river, in the other lies the highway, just a few distracted toddle-steps away. I still marvel at the luxury of being able to read a book instead of staring wildly around running a sort of frantic inventory in my head: WHERE’S DYLAN okay whew he’s over OH FUCK WHERE’S RILEY wait yes he’s just UGH WHERE DID DYLAN GO nevermind he’s, etc.

Also luxurious: leaving the boys for a few days with zero guilt. JB’s parents met us there and took the kids back to Coos Bay with them for a spring break visit, and JB and I drove home feeling nearly giddy in our unfettered state. We took the longer, winding scenic drive back to Eugene because there was no one in the backseat to complain about it: this is awesome! We went to the store last night without having to preemptively threaten anyone: this is awesome! We walked around our neighborhood as dusk fell and we had an actual conversation instead of stopping every two seconds to nag someone to stay out of the middle of the road/stop walking on the neighbors’ flowers/do NOT pick up that random piece of garbage: this is awesome!

I have a quiet house to myself today and it is a thing of wonder to work without the Wild Kratts theme blaring ten feet from my head (”On adventure with the coolest creatures, from the oceans to the trees …”). I cleaned the kitchen counter last night and my god, it’s still clean this morning. Later, I might mop the floor! THIS IS AWESOME!

Isn’t it weird how things that aren’t really accepted when kids are very small suddenly become totally okay? I mean, if I were telling you how awesome it was to send my infant away for a couple days, you’d probably start getting kind of uncomfortable and you’d shuffle your feet and say “…yeah…” while thinking I should probably keep my baby-separation-celebration to myself. But being apart from school-age kids? DUDE YES FIST PUMP. Seems unfair, really, considering how much more consuming babies are and how much more parents need a break during those years, but so it goes. It’s like daycare: no one likes to admit they drove away from their childcare center singing “Born Free” at top volume, but nearly everyone agrees that rejoicing after preschool dropoff is A-okay.

Anyway, we’re only kid-free until Wednesday morning, and it will of course be wonderful to see them again, but right now? Oh man, I am LOVING IT.

Comments

19 Responses to “Time off”

  1. Lucy on March 24th, 2014 9:06 am

    Sounds perfect – enjoy every second! And as a mum of a ten year old, yes, parenthood gets even better as your children get older!

  2. Mary Clare on March 24th, 2014 9:23 am

    Ooh, yes! Enjoy the solitude, quiet and not having to clean up after others. It’s nice to hear that parenting gets better. My 3 and 5 year old are getting more and more independent. Potty training nearly complete -hurrah! While I miss the baby cuddles, the budding independence makes life soo much easier. The three year old still needs lots of hover parenting, but I can (sometimes!) actually go to the bathroom by myself now.

  3. Michelle on March 24th, 2014 9:42 am

    We have one kid left at home, out of four, and it’s still a joy when we end up with a kid free weekend! Enjoy your brief days of clean counters and freedom! :-)

  4. Callie on March 24th, 2014 10:16 am

    It is the immense sense of freedom and relief when I am without my two boys that is leading me to believe I am probably done. That and the fact that when I pass the maternity section at Target I mutter under my breath, “Oh hell no.”

  5. Jessica V. on March 24th, 2014 10:19 am

    My in-laws took my boys over a 3 day weekend recently and YES to all of the things you said in your post. The house stayed clean! There was quiet in the morning and I didn’t have to get up until I wanted to! It was amazing and I hope you are able to enjoy every moment of it. YAY!

  6. June on March 24th, 2014 12:06 pm

    You must have seen the Lego movie – you are practically singing the chorus to “Everything Is Awesome”!

    Enjoy your quiet clean house and give the boys HUGE hugs when you see them on Wednesday.

  7. Skance on March 24th, 2014 12:30 pm

    Oh God yes! Congrats on this, but oh Christ it’s so true about babies. My little one turns one tomorrow, and on the one hand it’s like ‘wow, where did the time go?’, but then again every part of my body feels EVERY single one of those 364 nights of interrupted sleep, and my brain feels every day of being alert and aware of someone else first, and my vocabulary feels every single babyism that has now become the norm (I told some friends I had to leave a BBQ because I was ’schweepy’),and holy hell, the ELABORATE fantasies I’ve concocted about 24 hours alone in a hotel. I’m actually looking forward to a minor surgical procedure scheduled for this week as a break. So, sorry to make it all about me, but man do I wish things were different every now and then. Your post gives me light at the end of the tunnel that they will be eventually. (Your post about D’s sleeping travails and how he didn’t sleep through the night until 3 gives me the Heebie Jeebies every time another night with multiple wake-ups occurs).
    Enjoy the silence, time with JB and re cleanliness. Covet.

  8. Harmony on March 24th, 2014 1:59 pm

    I remember once, when Riley was like 18 months or 2ish, you and JB had a kid-free weekend planned, and you canceled it because he was being so much fun that you didn’t want to be without him. I remember thinking (before I had kids), “she’s crazy!” Then, when I had a kid that age, I thought, “I totally get it. They are so fun at this age and you just don’t want to miss a moment of it.” Now I’m back to think you were crazy, because the idea of a weekend away sounds like paradise itself. Enjoy it!

  9. Andrea on March 24th, 2014 6:43 pm

    Dude parenthood is a total grind. I’m happy for you. We have only one 5 year old and he’s a good kid so I have it easy really but still….that day-to-day …. I’ve always been jealous of friends who leave their kids for overnights or weekends. We’ve only had one overnight but boy it was awesome. I can’t wait to have a whole weekend to ourselves. What’s my husband’s name again?

  10. Victoria on March 24th, 2014 10:44 pm

    Enjoy!!!

  11. Donna on March 25th, 2014 8:26 am

    Last night was the first time my daughter has been without her two year old all night since EVERHERWHOLELIFE and why? Because she was in the hospital trying to and not yet passing a kidney stone. So not exactly a vacation but now that we know that we just have to let her cry it out give her a bath pull my hair out give her Capri sun put on a movie and turn off the lights and make the 10 year old snuggle her, I imagine she’ll be staying a lot more often. Um yay?

  12. Donna on March 25th, 2014 8:30 am

    And did I mention that I’m getting new floors throughout the house my entire bedroom is out on the back porch and we had to sleep on the couch? Also I now have a crew of six painting flooring plumbing and she’s scared of them? Plus the fact that every single room in the house except for one bathroom is full of crap from the rest of the house? All of which has to be sorted and put away? Shoot me now !!!!

  13. Jill on March 25th, 2014 5:42 pm

    I just copy-pasted the 2nd to last paragraph of this to a friend of mine who has a 4 month old. My oldest is going to kindergarten this fall and she was asking me how I was going to handle it since she cried for days when she had to leave her daughter at daycare.
    I have 4 kids, and the 5 year old is my oldest so I am both ready for the freedom of a few days away and yet YEARS away from ever actually getting there.
    Enjoy your break!

  14. Alison on March 26th, 2014 8:08 am

    Enjoy the hell out of your time alone in a quiet clean house. Go out to eat somewhere with tableclothes and delicate glassware! Sleeeeeeeep. This mom of two under two (and sick! bonus!) is so so jealous.

  15. Maggie on March 26th, 2014 12:40 pm

    Yes to all of this. My husband’s family has a cabin on a fast-moving very cold river in Central Oregon and when the kids were little it was FAR from relaxing to go there for a week in the Summer. The entire time outdoors was spent in obsessive monitoring mode due to drowning fears. Now, however, I am looking forward to our summer visit because both kids are old enough not to run into/near/by the river and I should be able to relax for a damned moment. Glorious.

  16. Sarah on March 27th, 2014 9:25 am

    Yes to whoever said they’ve concocted elaborate escaping to a hotel scenarios! I do that all the time. And also, Skance, who was excited about her surgery? Done that also. My baby was five months old at the time, up all night, and I was EXCITED to have a hernia repair because it meant a two day break from nursing and a reason to lay on the couch and float away on pain meds while someone else took care of the kids. That seems sad in retrospect…

    I will genuinely miss having little ones around to squeeze and snuggle, but I will not miss at all the constant vigilance required by them (or the messes and disasters which are the punishment for NOT being constantly vigilant.) And I live for the day when something I clean actually STAYS clean for longer than an hour. CANNOT WAIT.

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