Every now and then my husband and I are blessed with a reprieve from our parenting duties when my in-laws come along to whisk the children off to New Hampshire for a few days. It gives everyone a welcome change of scenery and allows us to catch up on fun things like laundry, paperwork, and of course, blogging.
It's a brief glimpse into parallel lives where we don't have children.
I'm not going to lie, the first day or two are pure bliss.
We eat meals without repeatedly telling other small humans to eat theirs. We go to bed late and wake up late because there's no one to wake us up at the crack of dawn. We go places unencumbered by strollers and diaper bags and snacks and toys.
We comment on how great it is, how free we feel, how childless people have it made. We revel in the experience like unsupervised children ourselves, exuberant at the mischief we'll get into without all the usual rules.
I've heard of parents who experience no separation beyond the daily school/work schedule until the age of whatever, who would scoff at the idea of even wanting time and space apart from their precious little ones, but for us it is essential for mental health. It creates room to breathe, catch up, re-energize, and reconnect with each other.
There's no doubt that we love our little dudes with every measure of heart and soul, but it takes a lot of energy to entertain, feed, comfort, clean, and educate them (not to mention take care of other household and personal needs as well). We need to have our batteries CHARGED in order to do those things well, it's good for everyone.
Just like sleep is essential for focus and energy during waking hours, and silent meditation fuels creativity and ideas, time apart helps transform us from zombie parents who get easily irritated by spills, nags, or busy schedules to fully present and joyful parents who are alert enough to appreciate these fleeting moments of childhood and are able to respond to tense situations from a grounded place of peace.
That being said, a few days after the initial euphoria has worn off, the shift comes. The silence that was so welcome at first begins to feel empty. The serenity, freedom, and time begin to drag and feel dull. Life becomes less colorful without them in it. I have an ache deep down in my soul that can only be soothed with Elliot's exuberance and Rhoan's sweet embrace.
I realize that while I might be more productive, successful, or adventurous in this childless parallel world, I would be incomplete and far more lonely.
I miss the chaos, the screams I ask to quiet, the messes I clean again and again. I long to return from my kidcation and thank the universe that I have such a family to greet me back in the real world.
See you soon kids.