Almost a month ago I was anticipating the arrival of a number of visitors – friends and family members – who were going to descend upon us in a seemingly unending wave of couch surfers. I was a bit overwhelmed at the thought of juggling the fun of having people visit and the stress of work that couldn’t be set aside during this time.
Tonight I’m on my couch, the kids are in their own beds, and I can hear M snoring softly through the wall. There is no inflatable mattress on the floor, no one waiting for me to be done working so they can turn off the light and sleep their jetlag away.
They’re all gone. I put the last of the visitors on the plane this morning and walked back to my car, exhausted and a bit bereft.
There are no sheets to be washed before the next visitor arrives. There are no special groceries to be bought for fancy dinners. There are no excursions to be planned. I’m not answering questions about appropriate Northern California wear or asking what anyone likes for breakfast.
I know what my family has for breakfast and by now they know to bring along a sweater because it gets cold at night.
It was lovely to sit on my very own couch tonight and catch up on my neglected Tivo lineup. I was able to work without worrying about the fact that I was ignoring guests who had traveled far to see me. But I’m sad anyway. It’s too quiet here and tomorrow is going to dawn very normal, with no cousins, sisters, mother, friends to join me sleepily in the kitchen as I rush around getting the kids ready for daycare.
I’m going to be lonely while I drink my tea.
Despite the less than awesome weather here at the beach (thank you endless fog!) M did manage to convince my brother-in-law to head out in the kayak.
Well, see for yourself.
It all started out great.
Smiles all around.
They walked to the water with a spring in their step.
The frigid temperatures barely slowed them down.
There they sat. Waiting for a wave to carry them away.
And come it did.
Way harder than expected.
But have no fear, they did eventually make it out to sea.
Where they stayed for all of 10 minutes before one of them decided that he was just too wet and cold to continue. Luckily we’re here for a few more days and M has a few more
victims family members to initiate. Lucky for them, the weather is due to start improving any day now. Any day…
Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. I really, really do. But sometimes, it’s really good to spend a few days away from my regular life. It’s good to sleep in, it’s good to eat when I feel like it, it’s good to just carry my stuff, and it’s really good to go out at night and not have to worry about the sitter, the kids, or knowing that I’ll be up at 6am dealing with a diaper, dropped pacifier, or missing sippy cup.
I go home tomorrow, back to the little girls who have wished me tearful goodnights over the phone for the last two days, back to sloppy kisses, and sweet hugs.
I have no voice left and my legs are beat from all the walking I’ve done, but I feel rested and recharged in a way I really hadn’t expected. I got to sleep, I got to play, and I got to hang out with my sisters, something that’s always a blast.
There are a few more hours (post second un-interrupted night of sleep) of family fun in the morning, then I head home. I know there’s a ton of work, two extremely clingy children, and one potentially very grumpy husband waiting for me there, but frankly I don’t care. After a day like today I feel like I can handle it all without even wiping the silly grin off my face.
Though maybe that’s because I know I’m taking another solo trip to NY at the beginning of August.
In the car, out of the blue, C said
“Before we go to Hawaii I want you to get me a Hawaiian skirt.”
There are so many things wrong with that sentence. First, we’re not going to Hawaii. Second, she was so sure that were going, there was no way to correct her. Though maybe we were just laughing too hard to try.
We haven’t been to Hawaii since we went back in 2006 for a friend’s wedding and back then we went alone, leaving C with her grandparents for the week.
We’ve been joking about going back ever since.
I just don’t think we’ve ever considered going with the kids.
Every time I open my novel I dive into the Hawaiian world I have created for my characters. I’ve tried to take myself to the place we spent a magical week, tried to recreate it perfectly in my mind so that I could in turn create it perfectly for my readers and take them there with me.
My perfect Hawaii doesn’t have sand toys, sippy cups, or even a booster seat or two.
I’m not sure how taking the kids to paradise meshes with my fantasy.
Would it be amazing to go on a vacation with them that doesn’t involve extended family? Just the four of us, bonding over sand castles and Mai Tais? (Do they even make virgin Mai Tais?) Or would it be sad to destroy that one place that I love to escape to in my mind? That place where I got to be a grown-up without kids, even though I’d already had the one.