Last week, my sister and her family came into town to visit my parents. Since my sister has two young kids, my 8-year-old daughter Alex stayed with them, so she could get as much quality cousin time as she could.
This left Marcus and I home alone for the better part of a week. It was very, very quiet.
I’m going to admit that this was lovely. We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, but it was just so cozy. And it felt like back when we were a childless couple: we didn’t have to rush around in the evening getting Alex to karate class. We could watch PG 13 or R-rated movies without having to wait for Alex to go to sleep. We sat around and talked about things other than parenting. We could walk across the house without stepping one one — not even one! — LEGO piece. There were no fights about it being time to go to bed, or time to wake up, or cleaning up a bedroom or turning down the volume on The Jonas Brothers, or … or …
There were no stories read at nighttime. No spontaneous cartwheels outside in the back yard. No sudden hugs around the waist that come out of nowhere and almost knock you to the ground.
By the time Alex returned home, I was thrilled to have her back. It was lovely to listen to her chatter on about all the fun she had while she was away, as we ate frozen yogurt together on the way back to the house. For the first time, I think, I caught a glimpse of what it’s going to be like when she leaves home for the last time — and I think I really understood what the word “bittersweet” was created for.
And for this, I’m very grateful.
(I’m also grateful to the stranger who was having yogurt with his granddaughter, and stopped and offered to take this photograph of Alex and me with my camera. You did a great job, sir, wherever you are. Thank you.)
How about you — any of you have your kids away from home over the summer? How did it go?
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