After eight days away, my kids returned home last night from a week at Gramma's house. With the exception of the four days I spent in New York City and the weekend where I dropped them off at Gramma's house while I went to my friend's lake house, this is the first time I have been without both kids for much longer than a work day.
Is it wrong to say that I have really enjoyed this time!?!
After eight years, I'd forgotten what it felt like to have no one to care for but you. To go out when you please, come home when you please, run around the house naked if you please.. (Okay, that last one never actually happened, but it could have, if we wanted.)
We've taken full advantage of having no kids around to tend to. Saturday morning we got up early, without having to rush kids along, and visited the City Market in downtown Kansas City. With no kids to keep an eye on as we paraded through the crowds, and no whining about being bored or tired of walking as we perused the produce, it was an enjoyable morning "date".
Later that evening, after a nap and some shopping for me, and some World Cup action for him, we went out to celebrate our 17th anniversary -- which was actually the Saturday before (June 21st). Brief storms earlier in the day made it a gorgeous evening to sit on the back deck of Gordon Biersch at he Power & Light District, people watch (at least five bachelorette parties arrived at P&L, and one 80's themed party -- not quite sure the reason for it), and enjoying some one-on-one time, just us...something I don't think we really have had since our 15th anniversary day out. The food was delicious, and, in what I think is a first, we both had wine with our dinner! Not beer or cocktails, but I had sangria and he had a riesling. We were awfully fancy and adult that night!
We followed that up with something I don't know that we've ever done -- drinks at a different location! Okay, so by we I mean he drove me to Houlihan's and ordered nothing while I ordered the mini-martini flight -- Hibiscus, Blueberry, and, the whole reason I went there, Key Lime Pie! So. Good! And so worth every extra calorie I consumed that night! The evening ended with some good conversation at our friend's house until about midnight.
I even enjoyed the freedom during the work week, with dinner and drinks with a neighbor Monday night, taking Tuesday off work and having lunch with my "bestie" and her youngest (followed by a trip to Sam's Club), a three-hour happy hour with some co-workers and my hubby at O'Dowd's on the Plaza Wednesday after work, and then dinner at a local pizza place (and another Boulevard Wheat) Thursday night, followed by grill shopping! Good times!
Friday --the 4th of July -- I spent the morning by myself, antique shopping in the West Bottoms, just west of downtown. The first weekend of every month, the 10 or so antique shops in the West Bottoms open their doors and crowds of people go shopping! It was the first time I've experienced it and even although none of my friends could join me, I refused to let that stop me, and made the trip by myself. It was neat, but I do admit it would have been a lot more fun with friends!
And Friday night was the first holiday we've spent without the kids. While they enjoyed a block party with their cousins, we went to my friend's annual 4th of July party/40th Birthday Party and enjoyed good food, good beer (yes, Boulevard Wheat again), great company, lots of laughs (including butt flops on the trampoline), and watched the other kids shoot off fireworks. I must admit, it was nice not having to keep track of our little ones, or worry about them eating, or whining, or fighting....we let all the other parents do that.
I won't deny it, and I'm sure it makes me a bad momma, but I had mixed feelings as we drove to pick them up. I missed my kiddos and have been anxious to get them back and really get this summer going -- since it seems to be going so fast and I feel like we haven't done anything "summery". But I've also enjoyed the time they were away.
I've enjoyed the quiet, not having to play mediator or fuss at kids to brush their teeth, pick up their toys, or go to bed. I've liked being able to just go anywhere without having to bring the kids or worry about them being home. But most importantly, I've enjoyed reconnecting with my husband. Our marriage hasn't always been perfect. Heck, it's not perfect now. But there are times when I wonder what would happen if the kids weren't around? Most of our conversations and dealings tend to be around the kids, would we have anything to talk about if the kids weren't around? Would we ONLY talk about the kids? Would we run out of things to say or do after one or two days? Would we get on each other's nerves and retreat to our separate hangouts for most of the time?
To my surprise, it wasn't what I "feared". We spent a lot of time together, the kids were only a part of the conversation for a small amount of time, and we actually had a lot of fun. Just us. We were goofy. We were spontaneous (ok, sort of spontaneous). Having the opportunity to reconnect was priceless!
If anything, this was a reminder that we need to take more time for just us. No kids. Spend the money on a babysitter or trade off with friends for a date night. Because they are young now, but they are growing quickly. It wont be long before they are spending more time out with friends than at home with us. Then it's just us.
So while I think I'm going to miss the quiet house and "freedom" of not having kids, I know I need to enjoy it while it's here. I need to remember that the great moments outweigh the stress and enjoy both the big and little moments. I want to yell less. Stress less. Play more. Have fun. And love the little things.