Most of the time they’re not gone for long. 48 hours. Or 4 days. This time, though, it’s been around 10, the longest we’ve been apart. Still, in most ways it’s like a normal Tuesday, the day the kids come back.
On Tuesday I am the best mom.
Today my children had four food groups in their dinner.
Today I managed a bout of toddler carseat rage in frigid temperatures without getting upset.
Today I have already gone back in their room after bedtime around
six seven eight times, but I don’t care much.
On Tuesdays I give the most kisses and allow the least screen time. On Tuesdays I am just getting them back and don’t want to push so I don’t ever attempt anything too ambitious that leaves us all weary, but I’m so happy to see them again that I don’t leave us all to our own devices.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that my kids are also at their best on Tuesdays. Mostly. Graham let Tessa share his bed and still hasn’t kicked her out even though she’s squirming and whining and keeping him awake. They came with me to get groceries and stayed in the car cart with a minimal amount of prompting/nagging. They even ate more of their dinner than usual.
Tuesdays are good days.
But my days off aren’t too bad, either. Every-other-Fridays when I send them off in the morning and then have the rest of the day to myself are pretty good, too. I know lots of people who can’t imagine being apart from their kids a few days every week, but I like having these days where I get to get excited to spend time with me, just like I am excited to spend time with my kids on Tuesdays.
I stay mostly the same, though, and the kids don’t. Getting a little break from them each week means that I get to see them in a new light. And I get to see them change in a way I wouldn’t if I saw them every day. I get to see them learn new words and phrases and wonder where they’ve picked them up. I notice growth spurts and shaggy hair in need of cutting. I see them playing together and fighting and building a relationship that changes from week to week.
As they get older I’ll be surrendering more and more of my time with them to their own interests and friends and hobbies. It comforts me to know that I’m getting the hang of it now, learning to let them go and enjoying getting them back. We already have a rhythm, a back and forth, a slow sway that seems to be doing a good job of keeping us all comfortable. And even if they pull back a little more and a little more, it’ll be a long time before the rhythm changes more than a little bit at a time.
Is it strange to be looking at my two tiny little ones and already thinking about letting them go as teenagers and adults? Perhaps, but I don’t think so. I already get to watch them turn into people, and that’s something I’ll get to do for decades to come. Maybe not always the way it is now, almost certainly not always on this kind of schedule. But we’ll shape it and mold it and figure it out. And there will always be those good days.
This entry is a part of the Just Write free writing exercise. As I find myself spilling my guts here less than I’d like, I took Heather’s suggestion and decided to take it on when I can squeeze it in. Hopefully more often than not.