Countdown to the kids leaving for the summer. When they were younger this was the 10-day period when I was both anxious about them going and elated to have 7 1/2 weeks of adult time and freedom from schedules. (except for work, but doing only one job was like a vacation).
This is the eighth summer that they will both be away. People used to ask us, “what do you do all summer without your kids?” and our response would be, “whatever the hell we want!”
Now that they are older, the thrill of having all that time to ourselves is tempered with the fact that during the year we pretty much do whatever the hell we want! And truthfully, our first choice of social companions at this stage of our lives are the kids themselves.
At almost 17 and 20 they are truly fun to be with. They throw us a bone now and then and agree to hang out, especially if we are paying.
Last night was Family Movie Night (yes on a Monday!) Infants that we all are, we decided to go see The Hangover – a fine example of good parenting, I might add.
Sitting in the movie theater, with the glow of the screen illuminating what are now the grown up faces of our offspring, I could not help but flashback to their little faces watching the insufferable kids’ movies we used to take them to. Invariably there was always a kid that puked in the next row.
This time the puking remained on screen.
I glanced at Gary and could read his mind. He gave me that misty-eyed Gary face that said: remember when they used to sit on our laps? Remember how his fuzzy little head felt under your chin? Remember how her hair smelled? How one of them ALWAYS had to go to the bathroom at the best part of the movie? When we were sitting in the middle of a row. Next to a very cranky family with a really big tub of popcorn.
Last night, the sound of their laughter, the feeling of being this family unit – one that we do not get to have often – THIS is what it is all about.
The news, the distractions, the daily grind; they all melt away at times like these when we realize what we have built. These small moments that could burst through the walls if they got any bigger. In a world where there are no answers, I have found mine right under my nose.
In my family.