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.

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