Something very strange happened this past weekend. Both my children went on a camping trip with our church. How did this happen? When did I become old enough to have kids that go away without me? Not just one of them. But both? Shooting arrows in the woods, pranking leaders, hanging with their friends. How is this my life? Where's my old life? You know the one I mean. The sleepless nights. The never-ending days filled with exhaustion. The early mornings with bright-eyed children and their super-tired mom. Bedtime cuddles and stories. Little ones looking to me for everything. Eating animal crackers as the main staple of my diet.
They are gone.
The days seemed so long at the time, yet looking back it's like someone hit the fast forward button on my life.
WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME?
I'm not going to lie. I may have initially been slightly giddy when I realized I had a kid-free weekend. My husband and I have taken weekends away before. But this was different. This felt like a new stage setting in. We weren't desperately pleading to grandparents for a sleepover, or bribing my sister-in-law with free Starbucks to come hangout for the weekend so we could escape the madness. It just naturally happened.
They had plans.
So what does a mom with a free weekend do?
Well, it's pretty exciting. Brace yourself:
She gets the remote to herself.
She doesn't have to drive kids to activities.
She goes shopping with her husband for a WHOLE day. Her pick.
She catches up on laundry and housework and it stays caught up.
She watches Netflix late into the night, and sleeps in the next morning.
She goes out for dinner because it is half expensive.
She doesn't go out to get milk because she can last 2 days without it.
She really lives it up!
But in spite of this wild freedom, the mom does a few other things too.
She wonders why no one texts her to say hi.
She checks instagram every hour to see if they've posted a picture.
She finally gets a text and is annoyed that all the replies are one-word answers.
She worries about them being warm enough at night.
She hopes that her picky daughter has found something to eat.
She questions if they are even thinking about her at all.
She changes the sheets on their bed so it will be nice and cozy when they get home.
A kid-free weekend is never a kid free weekend!
Motherhood is always a tension. You long for the kids to become more independent, yet you want to be needed. You wish for some time to yourself, but when you are alone you think about the kids. You wonder what it would be like to not have to do things for everyone, but then you get everything done and just stare at the empty room.
I'm getting better at embracing the stages. Balancing my mom emotions. Enjoying the seasons. Loving the past, but coming to terms with the reality of the present. Things are always changing, because life is always changing. Kids grow up. It's a fact I have denied for so long, but I can't ignore it any more.
At the end of the day, no matter what stage I am in, I am happy at the gift that has been given to me in my kids.
Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord