They’re Baaaaaack

And what a hell of a reentry that was.

They came bearing packages, bags of laundry, and lots of noise.  All of which happened to coincide with the whine of chainsaws and segments of tree thudding to the ground as we removed two more trees from our property.

The yard looks like a tornado came through, which I would think was totally fitting, if I wasn’t the one swirling around in its center.

Apparently there are findings that show people experience depression upon returning to their routine schedules after vacation.  This weekend felt like the ultimate vacation.  I was calm.  I was peaceful.  I was not done.

The moment they walked back in – in fact, even as I rushed around trying to finish things I knew I wouldn’t be able to when they came home – my stress level ratcheted up.

We showered them early because they had run around sticking to the tree sap and I looked at my husband at 6:13 PM and said, do we really have to wait over an hour to put them to bed?  Whatever reserves I had built up over the weekend had been depleted in a few short hours.

One validating point: my father-in-law, when recounting how the weekend had gone, looked at me and said,

“I don’t know how you keep up with the three of them all day.”

Yes, it was a shallow victory because it just confirms how life-sucking they are.  BUT – and this is a very big BUT – it means that there is not something wrong with me to find it challenging.  It’s a normal, natural response that many people have apparently.

That doesn’t make it any easier to deal with on a day-to-day basis . . . but at least I know I’m not some freak of nature.

So, the take-away.

  • I like alone time.
  • I crave uninterrupted creative time.
  • I respond well to long, drawn-out, meandering shopping trips.
  • I thrill in the perfect flea market find for my home décor.
  • I eat like a pig who has found the trough for the first time when I can do so without distraction.
  • A new dress does a girl good.
  • Certain physical endeavors provide good stress relief 😉
  • I suck at carrying over these lessons to the everyday; reality, if you will.

But I have to figure something out.  As I said when I lay in bed last night, in an exhausted stupor, ‘I love them.  I need to find a way to like being with them.’

Whether it’s situational depression or what, that’s not something a mother is supposed to say.

Contradiction in Terms

For all the bitching I do about taking care of my children, I stood listless on my porch this afternoon as I watched them drive away with their grandparents.

When you take away the main reason for my modus operandi, where does that leave me?

A skiff adrift, a compass needle with no magnetic pull, a mother with empty arms and a quiet mind.

I stood there for a moment, thinking I should literally be jumping for joy as I face down a weekend alone with my husband.  But I couldn’t get past the immediate feeling of ache.  A dull feeling somewhere around my solar plexus as I watch my babies leave.

They waved, and beeped, and yelled goodbye out the window.

And then I thought, okay, now what do I do with these hands, now idle, but so out of practice.  The hands and mind forget what it’s like to do something other than the constant care of children.

But once I allowed the thought in, my mind raced with possibilities.  I can write on the deck under the umbrella!  I can read in the sun.  I can put my feet up and have a nice cool drink.

What did I do?

I finished the laundry I’d started before they left.  I unpacked the schoolbags they’d forgotten about in their rush out the door.  I swept the crumbs they’d left under the table at dinner last night.

Giving me time off is an exercise in futility, no?

No.

Remember when your child was an infant and that hour during which they slept and the floor clear of squeak toys and random detritus was like heaven?  And then they woke up and flung everything from its cute little basket and all over the floor all over again?

Now imagine a larger child.  Now multiple that by three.  Now multiple that cute little basket into one huge mess of stuff.  All over the house.

This weekend is like that nap.  If I can clear all the stuff away now as soon as possible after their departure, I can enjoy a house free of gak for that much longer.  And I rushed around and did it as quickly as I could so I could still get to my laptop and get some writing in before my husband came home.

Time with the hubby is sublime.  But it’s also nice to feed our own soul.

What do we go to first?  How do we prioritize when every item on the list is important?  Dabble in a little of each so we can appreciate each in its contrast?  I don’t rightly know.  Hell, the one time I clean the house is when I should be eating freakin’ bon-bons while soaking in the bathtub.

I miss myself when the kids are here.  I miss my babies when they’re gone.  I miss quiet conversations (I’d even go for simply uninterrupted) with my husband.  I miss doing whatever the hell I want because no one is demanding anything of me.

I am a contradiction in terms.  And I have a whole weekend off to celebrate it.

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