My boys spent the night at my parents’ on Tuesday. I have not had a night at home without the kids since before I knew the difference between BeyBlades and Ninjagos, so MAN was I ready.
I dropped the boys off at 4:30 and then panicked because I wanted to both work out and go out to dinner with Kevin, and it was already 4:30. Then I remembered—the boys aren’t with us! We can eat dinner at 9 at night if we want!! So I dusted off my old rollerblades (that is not a figure of speech—I really own and still use a pair of rollerblades) and hit the trail.
I called Kevin to tell him I was on the way and we started to tell each other about our days and then I said, “Wait! We can’t waste all our conversation now!” So we hung up. There’s only so much you have to talk about when you’ve been together almost 15 years.
I’ve declared this fall “The Fall of Hometown Dates” because it’s been so long since we’ve gone on regular dates that all the restaurants in our city have changed. The waiter came to ask for drinks and Kevin said, “I think we could order everything now,” and I told him to slow down…we don’t have kids with us! We can order one course at a time and then wait for each one to come out!
And while were waiting for our food we did not play any games of tic tac toe, get in a fight over the rules of I Spy, crawl under the table for any reason at all, ask to play games on each other’s phones, knock over any water glasses, or need to be taken outside to get our wiggles out. We just sat there, sharing the conversation that we wisely did not waste in the car earlier that afternoon.
It has never felt nicer to be made to wait for food.
Back at home we got some cheap thrills speaking to each other in non-hushed voices even though it was past 9PM. We yelled things down the hall to each other like, “HEY, CAN YOU BRING ME MY GLASSES?” and, “WHICH ONES, THE PURPLE OR THE BLACK ONES?” I’m not joking, it got my heart rate up, yelling to each other right outside the rooms where the kids are normally sleeping.
In the morning I woke up because I had had enough sleep. I woke up because I had had enough sleep! Not because any other member of my tribe had had enough sleep but because I had had enough sleep! I can’t believe that is so exciting, but that is so exciting!!!
Then I cleaned up the house and it was incredible—as I put things away, there were not three people simultaneously dumping things out! Things stayed where I put them! There was no anger or frustration! There was no despairing, no sense of hopelessness! These past eight years I thought I hated house keeping but now that I’ve done it without children around I realized I really enjoy house keeping! I just hate house keeping with children!
Then I went downstairs and kind of blacked out at my craft table and when I woke up, four whole scrapbook pages were finished.
Later in the morning I went to Goodwill freely, without hiding anything or lying about what was going on in the trunk of the car while the kids were strapped, forward-facing, in their car seats. I left without being made to feel like I had just dumped a beloved family pet along the side of the road.
By then I was hungry, so I stopped at McDonald’s and ate a greasy, fried, sugary lunch without the guilt that my children were also eating a greasy, fried, sugary lunch. Incredible.
That was pretty much the end of my alone time. I picked the boys up, gave hugs and kisses, put them in the car, and turned the key. Then the masses from the back of the car came alive. “Mom, can I have some of your McDonald’s drink? Wait, you went to McDonald’s? Why didn’t we get to go to McDonald’s? Is it diet Pepsi? I love diet Pepsi! Leo hab some! Leo hab some!”
Oh, Parenting. I missed you, too.