It’s MEA and that means the kids don’t have school for a few days. Sometimes we take a little road trip or my mom will drive down for a long weekend. This year all three kids went up north to grandma and grandpa’s house. I’m not sure who was more exited, my parents, my children or me.
My mother approached me with the idea a week or so ago. She had obviously been thinking about it for a bit and I could tell by her tone of voice that she missed them. When I told her that it seemed like a great idea, I could feel her excitement through the phone. When I told my kids that they were going up north for the weekend my eldest daughter put her hands over her mouth and squealed. You would have thought that I just told them they were going to Disneyland. They all quickly cleaned up their dinner dishes and started packing.
Then there’s me. Four days without my three children in my house. I literally see no downside. At first, I felt a tad guilty, but that quickly went away. Soon my head was filled with all the projects and things that I could get done in their absence. Then my mind went over the places I could go and things I could do.
Reality has set in and I’m realizing that my children really aren’t stopping me from doing anything. I have done exactly zero projects and deep cleaned nothing. My husband and I went out to a dinner and a movie the other night, but we could still do that with my children at home. Probably the biggest change is that we can watch whatever TV program we like while eating whatever foods our children hate.
I have a smaller home. I used to think about upgrading it, but I kind of like how it forces us to all hang out together. These past few days I’ve realized how large our home really is. When there are only two people around, you really don’t need that much space. I’ve noticed how quiet it is too. On the first two days of my children’s absence, the silence made me happy. Now the lack of laughter and yelling kind of makes me miss them.
I enjoy little breaks like this. It allows me to take a step back and really see and appreciate what I have. It’s so easy to get caught up in the chaos of the day-to-day mundane tasks. Getting them ready, clean them, driving, feeding, clean them again, feed them again, put them to sleep… The expression is the days are long, but the years are short. These little mini vacations from my children help me realize just how fast the time is passing.
I may not get anything accomplished during this break that I wanted to, and that’s OK. I got to watch some good movies and eat some good food. I’m ready for them to come home though. I’m already looking forward to being sandwiched between them on the couch while watching one of their goofy TV shows. Absence really does make the heart grow fonder.
Albert Lean April Jeppson is a wife, mom, coach and encourager of dreams. Her column appears every Saturday.