Poet Anne Shaw says, “Fond as we are of our loved ones, there comes at times during their absence an unexplained peace.” This is undeniably true.
One of the few advantages I had as a single mother for many years is that my children’s father lived 1500 miles away. (No, not because he was far away! Though that was a blessing, too.) This meant that the girls could go visit him/his mother every summer for a number of weeks. From the time I tearfully put them on the plane until I welcomed them home, I had an amazing amount of time to recharge my personal batteries, worn down to an extreme after 10 months of single, working parenthood.
So now I’m not a single mother; the Cabana Boy and I are solely responsible for our three, who create a huge need for respite. As I’ve discussed previously, it’s hard to find someone to watch the children because of their issues. Even people we absolutely trust find they have problems. While my father lives in town, he has never been much of a grandparent–it’s just not his style, unless it involves teaching pinochle or bridge. That, he’ll do. He could never watch them for more than 30 minutes while they’re glued to the television. So we get stretched pretty thin.
The Cabana Boy’s mother has taken the children each summer since we married, I think the first summer because she was a little wary that this cougar would steal her grandchildren away along with her son. But since that time, and since the diagnoses, she’s been more reluctant to actually take them. Last year’s proposal was that she could take one for two weeks and then the “other” two for a week. Never mind we kept trying to explain that Little Miss and Ditto Boy made a MUCH better pair to visit than any combination involving Captain Oblivious.
As it turned out, camp hours basically forced us to send them for the same two weeks, all three of them. No major tragedies, unless you count Captain O’s blatant verbal attack on some certainly very nice Southern Baptist people in a hotel elevator as he informed them in no uncertain terms that he was an Atheist because Bill Nye said there was no God and they were wrong. I understand my dear MIL nearly fainted dead away, as she’s a steadfast Sunday school teacher. Oooops.
This year, because of gas prices, we all agreed that they’d go together. So Friday we’re taking them down to South Carolina for another summer visit, two weeks without the children. The Cabana Boy and I are seriously hoping to find some time to destress and reconnect, do all those things we can’t do when the kids are here. Maybe even eat dessert first occasionally. We do want to make the trip to Lilydale and consult a psychic. We will also visit K, and taste some of her fabulous cookery at culinary school.
And then we’ll hope that the rule is not that out of sight means out of mind, but that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Really.