Our kids are gone right now. Spending time elsewhere. God bless the grandparents. Of couse we love our kids and all. But sometimes having them share their energy and questions and loudness with other people can be good too. Because we try to teach them that sharing is a good thing, right? But as I woke up this morning to a kidless house it made me think a little about how things are different.
- I can eat whenever I want. This morning I ate a handful of cashews around 8:30, and then I finished off my leftover lasagna about 11 a.m. And I didn’t have to wonder if someone else would ask to eat my food, have some of mine, or think since I’m eating they should have their meal fixed right then too. As soon as my kids see me eating ANYTHING they want some. If I was eating one peanut M&M, they’d want me to split it four ways so they could have just as much as I was getting.
- I can lay in bed as long as I want on Saturday morning. On a usual Saturday morning I will read something in bed or on the computer after I finally wake up. But “finally” might not be the best word because my five year old likes to come ask about breakfast. She knows not to wake me up specifically to ask for that, but she’ll “accidentally” be loud or come and crawl in bed beside me or want to play a game on my phone or any number of things to try and get me up out of the bed. I trust her to pour her own cereal now, but there’s still the “mess factor” I know I’ll have to manage later. But without them at home, I can wait until my bladder or stomach demand relief.
- I can eat whatever I want. I like to try to direct my kids in a healthy lifestyle. And a lot of that has to do with what/how we eat. So I try not to eat too much junk in front of them. For one because they don’t need to eat it. And secondly, because if they do eat it then half of my ice cream or cookie dough would be gone in one fell swoop. But now I can break out the candy bar for a snack or even ice cream with chocolate syrup for lunch and no one cares!
- Adult conversations are easier. Now when I say “adult” conversations I’m not meaning anything lewd or nefarious. But just a normal, calm, uninterrupted conversation about life in general. Last night the wife and I went to Ole Venice for supper (that’s where I got the lasagna). The two of us sat down, talked, munched on bread, read the local free newspapers, and shared a meal. And we never once had to clean up a spill, tell someone to sit down, break up a fight, go “Shhhhhhhh!” because someone was too loud, or have three people asking for bites of my lasagna. Heck, I bet if we’d gone out as a family I couldn’t have had left over lasagna for breakfast today!
- We can each go places quickly. If my wife and I each need to run a quick errand in different directions, we can do it. At the drop of a hat. Just grab the keys and hop in the truck. There’s no “let’s use the potty before we go”, there’s no search for the missing shoe, there’s no tangled hair that needs a backhoe to get a brush through, there’s no finding the dog, blanket, baby, book, or whatever else they want to take with them. None of that. It’s just “where are the keys” and in a split second I’m out the door.
- I can be as loud as I want to be. We watched a movie last night [quite interesting I must say]. But we turned the tv up and it got loud at a few points, but we didn’t have to worry about waking anyone up. This afternoon when my two year old son would normally be taking an nap, we were rearranging some things in the garage and coming in and out of the house right by his bedroom. But didn’t have to worry about keeping or waking him up.
- Things just seem “off”. While all of those things above can be great things, things still seem a little “off” when they’re all gone. I find myself listening for them, wondering why they’re so quiet. Or I’ll think of something funny that would make them laugh, but then they’re not here to share it with. Or maybe I’m making a big bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup, and I put a little extra in the bowl because I was smart and planned ahead to share it with them….but then they’re not really here. So while a break is good, it’s always good to get them back, as well! Normal is good.