Every year for eight weeks, the boys travel to Georgia to visit their dad, right? Now bear with me because I think I might be onto something here.
For those exact same eight weeks the longest a dirty dish stays in the sink averages about five seconds, the rooms that I’ve cleaned thus far have stayed clean, food is lasting longer than 24 hours after it’s purchased and – I’m a little teary eyed about this part – the TV remote not only stays on the channel that I put it on, but the remote itself doesn’t disappear every hour on the hour.
Now, I beg of you not to mistake my awe and amazement for complete sunshine and lollipops; there is a dark side to this mysterious phenomenon as well. For instance, there appears to be a magical barrier keeping the trash rising upward in the can instead of actually making it disappear like when the boys are home, and were you aware of the fact that dogs bark… like…a LOT… when they’re not fed daily?
It’s weird, right?
Last year this time I was writing about how worried I was about them being gone, how much I missed them, how strange it was not having a two other schedules to work around… NOT THIS YEAR BABY! This year, I don’t feel guilty about sleeping in. I have actually scared more than one friend by eagerly accepting a spur-of-the-moment dinner invitation eagerly. I have GOT to remember to buy dog food tomorrow after work.
Gone is the need to speak to them every minute of every day. That is not to say that I don’t miss them, but the suffocating need to hear their voices morning noon and night has eased to just once a week. It’s not to say I don’t talk to them, thanks to this whole Facebook fad (it won’t last long)I’ m able to talk to them on a regular basis. It’s not to say I’m not feeding the dogs… I am… they LOVE peanut butter sandwiches, leftovers and sandwich meat for the record.
The boys – well – it’s been a good vacation as well. They’ve learned to speak up for themselves to their dad – something they have not been able to do before. Nick has taken his life coach’s advice, and voiced not only his opinion, but his future plans to his dad. Justin has learned to put himself out there, find a new friend, even if only for a short while. Both are learning how to adjust to life outside of what we have discovered is my apparent and constant need to schedule their every minute of every day.
Just as I’m learning how to control my schedule, and my schedule alone – the boys are learning the same thing. Because their dad does not get a full eight weeks vacation, the boys have had to learn how to entertain themselves.
It’s a learning summer for sure, and not unlike last year when I realized I find my glaring mistakes as a parent most when the boys are gone, this year is a little of the same in that the three of us have grown most when while we’ve all been apart.
What about you, what are the things you learn when your kids are gone? What do they learn being away from you?
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Wendy Syler Woodward has been a single parent for 10 years, with two boys ages 12 and 16. Originally from southern California, Wendy moved her family seven years ago to Phoenix where she manages a law firm for work, writes for fun, and this year returned to college for her B.A. Follow her on Twitter @WendySyler.