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When the Kids Leave: Part 1

One of the things that the boys did in Tucson was tame wild beasts.

This is part one of two posts in which I discuss my children leaving to visit family in another state. I wrote part one just before they left. Part two was written as their return home drew near and will be posted later today. Feel free to compare, contrast, and comment as you see fit.Whit

School is out and the days are as long as they have ever been. They are growing all the longer.

Our last days of the school year were a blur of medical emergencies and quick car trips, and now we are ready to drive four hours to give our children to their grandparents. It will be two weeks of peace and way too quiet. I am not looking forward to it just as much as I really need it.

I really need it.

I have plans. I have been behind on work since the Bush administration. My inbox has important emails in it covered in dust and never answered. The house looks like a landfill and the yard needs days of attention. Also, there are movies I have been meaning to see.

Don’t worry, boys, I have plenty to do.

The biggest project, as far as the kids are concerned, is their overflowing collection of stuffed animals, assorted toys, and various hangers-on. Seriously, there is an embarrassing amount of kid stuff scattered throughout the entire property and while proper parenting might suggest I hold the boys accountable and make them tend to it themselves, the realist in me is looking forward to avoiding the arguments, tears, and headache that such actions would surely result in. The realist in me is pretty lazy.

For their part the boys will enjoy two weeks of constant attention, which sounds nice. Going to visit grandparents is a lot like going to a spa:

“The cucumbers are for your eyes, they are not for flinging.”

“Sir, please keep the towel on.”

“I assure you, that it is a mud bath and not, as you say, ‘a tub of poop.’”

Stuff like that. It’s all about you, kids. Appreciate it.

They will be in Arizona going to museums, water parks, movies, and whatever else there is to do when it is a thousand degrees outside and you don’t have your papers.

And yet, despite all the quality time I will have and the things that I will do, I am inclined toward the bittersweet tugging of their absence as it plays across my heartstrings. Is our house a home without children in it?

We shall see.

My wife says that it is good for them, and she’s right (as usual). The boys need to experience life without a net — although, to be clear, my mother is a worrier and they will have much more net than usual, it just won’t be the one they are used to. It will be good for them to apply what they have learned in situations where their mother and I can’t bail them out (but still safe). They have lessons learned to put into practice and manners nurtured to wow every friend my parents show them off to. It is a chance for them to stretch and possibly to fly. I’m sure I’ll hear all about it.

The idea of meeting work deadlines and not stepping on Lego bricks is a nice one, but the hugs and moments that are missed are two weeks of their childhood that I will never get back. It is akin to a parenting coma, but with the occasional Skype chat.

At least the house will be clean for a while.

Have your kids gone away without you? How was it?

 

Whit Honea can be found writing about whatever he feels like at his personal site Honea Express (Honea sounds like pony) and DadCentric. If you’re really bored you can follow him on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).

Also from Whit:

Bullies on the Bus

Brave: Boys, Bows, and Bears

Babes in Cars Land

An Award by Any Other Name

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