Today at noon I put my kids in the car, put some gas in my van, picked up a girlfriend, and headed out of town. We met my parents at a restaurant in Shelton (“Fine Dining Just For You”, and it actually was a nice little place as it turned out) and my parents bought us lunch. An hour after that I watched my oldest girl wave from the carseat while my mom and dad took her away from me for a couple nights plus change. I didn’t miss her, not yet, but it had only been five minutes.
This is only the second time my daughter has stayed with my parents. The first time was a little less than a year ago and coincidentally helped us through the birth of my friend Abbi’s baby in Seattle, a horrid few days for me, suffering from loss of sleep and the draining effects of birthin’ adrenaline (not my own, which as it turns out is easier than holding a friend’s hand through theirs) and just Seattle in general. Jesus Mother of God if anyone asks you to be with them while they’re having their baby, say “No” unless it’s in the same damn town you normally live and sleep in. By the way, I was never asked, I volunteered.
Back to current reality where already downgrading from two children to one feels like downgrading from one to zero – back to the footloose, fancy free lifestyle we enjoyed by Ralph and I not so many years ago. The second child is so happy to have some genuine focussed attention and eye contact he’s a breeze to care for. It’s easier to cook for three. It’s easy to entertain one small creature, rather than two. My laundry duties are drastically reduced. Bedtime is a breeze, and suddenly I have hours of time between when the house is silent and calm and when I actually want to go to sleep.
So I lie awake for a while, finally falling asleep at 10:30 or some ridiculously early hour. I sleep well. I feel close to my husband. He’s too tired to notice.