I know…it sounds like such a normal thing. For most people in our circle, it is. For the first time in over 12 years since our twins were born, I find my self home alone. Yes, I have been home for a few hours here and a few there, but this is my first overnight since we got pregnant in 2003 and I find myself surprised that it feels like a momentous occasion. Don’t worry…you won’t find Macaulay Culkin here (beyond this mention, obviously). I was raised in a family that took extended family seriously. For most rites of passage, my folks would pile us into the suburban or van and drive us the 4+ hours to the greater Los Angeles Area to be present for whatever occasion it seemed appropriate for us to be present. I know for sure that I’ve let some branch of the family tree down, but since I moved two states north before sewing my seeds, we have felt much like an island. I hear tales of extended family that steps in to ensure the parents date/connect/have the option of not being in charge 24/7. We don’t pretend that anyone but the two of us ever suggested we have kids (well, if we don’t count the father in law approaching me as I signed our marriage license asking when he could expect his first grandchild…-WISH I were kidding… )
My mother in law whom I love dearly moved a good 3+ hours away when the kids were maybe six years old. My folks live two states south. My only sister has lived in the southernmost tip of our state for about 5 years at 3+ hours away by car. Otherwise, we’ve been lucky to have had some good friends that we could count on a few times a year to watch the kids for a few hours while my hubby and I run out for a quick dinner, but an overnight? No. With a kid with food allergies, it’s too hard on EVERYONE to turn over the reigns.
My husband and I DID have one overnight once. In 2007, when our twins were three, my parents, grandmother and brother flew up for a week during the summer. My brother and mother offered to surprise my husband and me for our anniversary by staying with our twins for the night while my grandmother and father stayed in the hotel. It’s the only night my husband and I have had off entirely since 2004. We haven’t had one since. I’ve taken the kids on a few trips since while my husband stayed home to work, so he’s experienced the home-alone-effect. For me though? Tonight is my first.
We’ve known for weeks that our son had a Boy Scout camp out/gold panning event this weekend. We’ve also known for almost a year that his twin sister and the older sister of one of his fellow Boy Scouts were friends. What culminated in this first-in-twelve-years event had everything to do with the girls wanting to spend some time together and their mom (who happens to be one of my favorite people) suggesting that we coordinate the boys being gone with the girls having a sleep-over at not-my-house for the first time ever. EVER. Did I mention…EVER?
What shall I do?
Obviously, there will be wine. Without question, there will be some sort of snooty artisan bread with herbs and maybe stinky cheese. Then what will happen?
Awe, crap! I cleaned the freezer!
Extremely disappointing with myself, I opted for something stronger than wine and moved on to Netflix and Amazon Prime. A quick chick flick and then onto the first in a sting of ballet dance movies… good to know even after all of these years that I am still a dancer at heart.
I know that tomorrow I have a whole day (o.k., until about 4 in the afternoon) to myself for the first time in forever. I hope there will be art. I suspect there may be purging in the garage and possibly some gardening. I wish upon wish that I’ll be brave enough to leave my nest and go explore the woods on my own for a hike. More than anything, I am aware that these nights, while momentous right now, will feel all too common and easy-t0-come-by in just a few short years. I hope I never forget to be grateful for those that offered to give my husband and me a ‘break’ from responsibility for a night here and there. I feel like I’ve lost 800 lbs for a night knowing that our son and his life threatening allergies are in the capable hands of my husband; our daughter is in the capable hands of our friend. For now, I have the first night off from responsibility since the night I signed on to become a parent and for that, I am so appreciative of this respite (while looking forward to resuming my responsibilities tomorrow night)! Now back to my cheesy ballet movies.