I have had the strangest few weeks. I still haven't won the lottery, but that is largely due to my lack of ticket purchases. I didn't find out that I had internal man parts, though I have always suspected that this might be the case. The past few weeks haven't brought me a long lost sibling or anything truly strange.
The strangest thing about the past couple weeks is that I've been by and large without my children. You'll recall that when I went to London last year, I hadn't really ever been away from the kids. We'd never been on a trip without them, never had overnight dates, never really gone more than a few hours without them.
I love my children...
London was heaven cloud nine utopia fantasyland covered with chocolate and served by James Bond (the present beautiful one).
Now, it would strain the laws of decency for me to talk about how much I loved being without my children for a few days. But I did. Love it.
So fast forward to a couple weeks ago when friend offered to watch the kids while Austin and I went to a cabin for a few days. Now, I'm not really a cabin type of girl. I'm not a Beverly Hills/Brentwood professional hairdo tanned blonded French manicure type either. I love nature, love the quiet and the soft rush of water over smooth rocks.
But I really don't have any interest in staying in nature for longer than...oh...a couple of hours. Seclusion is good for the soul, meditation keeps you balanced. But in the freezing heat type season of life that I'm currently in, I only want to be transported by whatever means at my disposal, simply in order to forget.
Despite the rugged cabin, hot plate for cooking (had never seen one, Austin cooked everything), and lack of reading material, we did have a good time. And this was mostly because we had hours upon hours of not frantically taking Sabra to the potty and telling Moira that she didn't swallow the bouncy ball she can't find. She has an unnatural fear of swallowing things she cannot find. I don't know how or why this is, but it is really hard not to laugh.
Well, we followed up the rustic little jaunt (as a side note, Alabama is a different country full of Good Lord Help Us) with my trip to Vomitous Hellacious Hallucinatory Land.
Without sharing the horrible and quite frankly embarrassing particulars, I'll just say that I couldn't breathe for all the dry heaving and ended up in the hospital for a few blessed hours. I rant and rave about my terrible insurance, but I also know that just having that 5K insurance card was my ticket into the lovely room with lovely IV bags full of soothing drugs.
In all seriousness, having heard the horrors of people who have been turned away for lack of insurance, I am very thankful to have the ability to go. I'll gnash my teeth when the bill arrives, but such is life.
Austin, partly moved by chivalry and kindness, part by a strong desire to not catch my virus, kept himself and the kids out of the house for the next five days while I popped meds and tried to concentrate on not seeing the Cheerios come back. I watched a BBC miniseries (Cranford, which was everything good and lovely) and napped, and took 982 baths and napped and stared at the dirty window with ugly bent peach blinds.
THEN my other friend took the kids for a few hours because I cried when Sabra wanted to play Memory and called Austin out of his meeting to tell him I'm not a capable parent and my kids are going to grow up calling me by my first name because I'm a stranger to them. So Aus called and found someone I haven't completely worn out yet with my needs and she came and took the kids...and then had them spend the night...and then watched them the next day....and also picked me up and let me bum around her house.
I have really good friends, but I don't think I'm a really good friend. Not in that way, at least. Some people just seem to 'get' kids. I'm not one of those people. I'll watch your kids, try my best to entertain them and make sure they don't get hurt. But I'll also be popping Valium and adding things to my Diet Coke to get through it all. I don't have the magic gift of child rearing. The fairies gave me the gifts of ugly face making, sticking nose up tongue, and turning anything into an inappropriate comment.
So I got through the weekend, gaining strength on chicken soup and graduating to cookies and cream Klondike bars, and arrived at Monday morning. Austin had to speak at the kids' camp that night, and the youth camp Tuesday night. We didn't have anyone to watch the kids while I worked (because all of you are hiding, and I don't blame you). So he just up and decided to take the kids with him. He packed their stuff, didn't ask for anything, and then left!
I had dinner with my dad, colored my mom's hair, and then took myself to a friend's house. We ate, we talked, we laughed. I went to bed and SLEPT and then when I woke up (easily, to the sweet vision of Aly Sykes staring at my face) there was coffee and yummy breakfast. It just appeared on a plate.
It wasn't London, but it was quite lovely.
And now I'm not so sure how to go back to having kids. Several weeks without the constant nagging, asking, crying, coddling, cuddling, cleaning, playing, pretending. I had a few lovely breaks. I didn't meditate or read deep books or spend my time in prayer and fasting for the answers for life's next steps. That sounds really, really irresponsible. And it might be.
But I just really like the break.