Away from My Girls

I spent the earlier part of the week visiting my grandmother, who is approaching 90 and has been dealing with serious health issues over the last nine months. All things considered, she’s doing well, at least right now, and I’m glad I took the trip to see her before I start the new job.

I left the girls at home with my husband for this voyage. They apparently survived and even decorated the Christmas tree in my absence (although I came home to an ABSOLUTE mess – more on that another time – but suffice it to say that my husband has serious ass-kissing to do to make up for the catastrophe that greeted me this morning in the sunroom).

But here’s the thing. If I’m being honest, I didn’t really miss Chloe and Sophie while I was away, nor did I particularly miss my husband, for that matter (the pangs of guilt are starting to hit, now that I’ve actually put that thought in writing, and if my girls end up in therapy when they’re older, I’ll know why).

Even though the Florida trip wasn’t really a vacation, it was liberating to have alone time for a couple of days. No screaming kids. No meals to prepare (other than a sandwich for my grandmother). No pleas to play games. No having to put up with Radio Disney, or cartoons, or silly tween TV shows. No baths to give or homework to supervise. No acting as a referee when the girls start arguing. No having to wake up at an ungodly hour to cries of “Mommy, Mommy, Papa, Papa.” No telephone torture. I could go on and on and on.

I watched the morning news shows for the first time in years. They’re really boring. I listened to my iPod music collection. I even had time to write some holiday cards, another thing I haven’t done in years.

I appreciated the short time away more than in the in the past because the last eight months at home have been so intense. Non-stop parenting, even in the middle of the night, takes it toll. Random and trivial kid-related thoughts that assault the mind at 3 AM are a form of torture that no decent human being should have to endure on a regular basis.

Every parent should be able to take time off from their offspring. A few hours here and there are always nice, but not nearly enough. Nights away are truly crucial. After a long enough break, parents should, in theory, appreciate their kids more and the kids might even appreciate what great parents they have (ok, maybe that’s a little too optimistic, but one can always hope).

The next step is to go away with the husband for the weekend (something I don’t recall doing since before Sophie was born). Which will involve enlisting my Mom, who until now has been understandably reluctant to have an overnight with the two girls simultaneously. But Sophie’s older now, and more self-sufficient. And Chloe would be happy to help out (especially if we bribe her). Mom, if you’re reading this, how about it? No pressure, really. But wouldn’t it be nice to spend a night or two with both girls? They LOVE you so much…

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