(Author’s note: I actually voice-recorded this blog on my phone as I was driving to Ohio two weeks ago. I’m finally getting around to typing it up. I just had to confess that.)
I guess I should preface this by saying you never really get a break from motherhood. Sure my son was gone for almost 2 weeks, but that doesn’t mean that during those 2 weeks I never thought like a mom. Of course I did. I started thinking about school clothes, school supplies, our school-day schedules, Cub Scouts starting again in a couple of week, and how to get Wildman back into his routine when he returns home. The other things that Moms don’t really take a vacation from are being anxious about whether or not he’s fine, what’s he doing, and is he behaving himself wherever he is.
But I did get a break from the actual physical day-to-day job of being a mom because for the last two weeks Wildman has been in Ohio visiting with his grandparents, aunts and uncles. I get the privilege of sending my child away to stay with family a couple times a year, usually in July and then again during his Christmas break. This is really nice considering all of our family lives 6 hours away from us (I’m sure they would say WE live 6 hrs away from them, and I guess technically they are right). We rarely have any time when our boy is not with one or the other of us. It’s not like we can just send him to Grandma’s for the weekend or even for a night. Yes, occasionally he does get to stay with our Godchildren’s family – and that’s always very appreciated – but it’s not the same as getting to send him away for the weekend and not have to worry about him. So I look forward to these little “mom-cations” when they do happen.
Last year and again this year, his summer trip has been two weeks at a time now that he’s a little older. He gets to go up to Ohio and hang out with his cousins, get spoiled, go swimming, run around and just generally not have to listen to Mom and Dad. And on the flip side, Mom and Dad get to do adult activities for a change. We got to go out with friends after work, we tried out a new place to eat. We even went to the movies ALONE. (Full disclosure, it was Harry Potter but that’s because that’s what we wanted to see and not chosen because the Wildman chose it.) Actually, we went out to dinner twice. We spent time with our neighbor and got to talk about whatever we wanted to talk about and not worry about what little ears might hear.
It was a really nice break, and I enjoyed it – for a little while. It was great the first week. By that weekend, the house was just way too quiet. I kept thinking things like “if Wildman was here, we’d go to the library.” “If Wildman was here, we’d go to Cheekwood Botanical Garden and see the trains.” “Ooh, if Wildman was here, we’d go to Ice Day at the Nashville Zoo” – because that’s one of his favorite activities. But since he wasn’t here, I went shopping alone – which never happens! – and then I drug Kev out with me to run some errands. (I’m sure he’d rather Wildman were here so he wouldn’t have to go with me but he was a good sport and went along.)
So after a few days of quiet I was ready for my boy to be home. And so I get to drive the 6 hours back to my hometown, alone, to go fetch him. I will be very glad to have him back even though I know he’ll be rotten and he won’t want to behave and he’ll be spoiled and used to getting his way because those things tend to happen a little more when he’s with his grandparents then they do with Mom and Dad. But that’s okay because he needs that time away from Mommy and Daddy, and he needs to spend time with his extended family so that he’ll have wonderful memories and experiences of spending time with his cousins and aunts and uncles the way Kev and I did as kids. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I am picking Wildman up on this particular weekend is so that I can also attend my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary party. I’m really excited to be able to be there for this occasion because my aunt and uncle are very special to me, and my two older cousins who, while they have picked on me my entire life, were a very special part of my childhood. My mom’s family is very close, and I don’t get to spend time with them nearly often enough.
So as I said, I’m glad the Wildman gets to spend time with his cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends because that’s what being a kid is all about. And it’s an added bonus that Mommy and Daddy get a little time to just be themselves and not have to be Mommy and Daddy for just a little while.