First: the Sober Husband has requested that I inform the readers how he did shopping for Lola (I asked him to run out on her birthday and pick her up a couple of extra gifts). He did very well indeed, bringing home a nightlight and a Barbie sporting a pink and gold gown with some accessories. Lola loves this Barbie and likes to fuss about with her tiny plastic accoutrements.
Poor Lola evidently was too miserable on Sunday to grasp what was going on with her party. It wasn't until Tuesday that she asked me, sadly, why her friends didn't come to her party. "Because I called all their mothers and told them you were throwing up" helped her to shake her belated feelings of rejection. She worried that we'd eaten too much of her birthday cake to have enough for her friends, but again the promise of a new birthday cake cleared up her sorrows.
Until... I remarked at the dinner table, "You do know I'm going out of town this weekend, right?" This was met with sullen acknowledgment from the Sober Husband and outright astonishment and woe by five year-old Lola. "No Mommy World, no Mommy love??!" she said pathetically.
I'm planning to leave Friday to go on an annual camping party held in the Mendocino hills each year by friends. I haven't been to one of these since Lola was a fetus, and somehow it would never have occurred to me that I could brazenly drive off and attend by myself (children are persona non grata, and the Sober Husband doesn't care for this sort of thing much). My friend Abs, a more dynamic sort of mommy than me, proposed that I attend, pointing out that she was leaving her two children with her husband for the weekend. Thinking about it, I couldn't see a valid reason not to go (aside from Lola's hurt feelings). The husband has escaped back to Chicago and other points back East to attend various weddings, poker games, funerals, business trips, etc.. without us from time to time (indeed, he'll be off on a conference later this month), but since I procreated over eight years ago, I've only gone off on my own three times (twice on quick trips to see my best friend from high school, and once to drive seventy-odd rats down to L.A. to go up for adoption).
Currently I'm waiting for a shoe to drop or a child to vomit, causing me to stay home. It feels impossible that I can just drive off. We'll see. We will also see whether I have a good time off on my own. I'm very much looking forward to this, but the sad underlying reality is that I've become very unaccustomed to prolonged conversations not involving children. Can the Drunken Housewife resuscitate a bit of her former personality, one which was allegedly witty and vivacious? Or is she going to be one of those sad, sad lifeless parent-losers who keeps telling pointless anecdotes about how cute her children are? ("And then Iris called her father 'Dorky McDork of the Dorks!', and Lola and I laughed and laughed").
My best friend (whose 8-yr-old offspring wears boas and emulates John Cleese) told me a few years back that she had gone on a retreat. By herself. In a cabin in the desert, in the middle of winter, ALONE. "What?!" I exclaimed. "What did you...do?" "Read a lot of tabloids, and thought of lots of funny stories involving my child," she said serenely. I hope you get to go, and I hope it's delightful.
The description of poor Lola and her non-birthday party broke my heart.
I, for one, am most looking forward to seeing you this weekend!
And while you are more than welcome to regale us with stories of your children, I promise to start a conversation or two with you about other stuff that is entirely unrelated to your current occupation of Housewife. Notice I left out the Drunken part, because we'll let you do that, if you like. It's gonna be a super-duper fun trip - promise!!! And i hope it will be an opportunity for you to reclaim some parts of yourself that have been put aside for other, more pressing priorities.
See you on the lawn!
have a great time doll! you deserve it!
what's iris think about all this?
You entertain strangers on the internet on a daily basis. I think that you'll be just fine.
Aww, thank you, everyone. Hugh, Iris is feeling kind of clingy over it. I actually bought them each some inexpensive presents, so they can open a present each day I am gone. Sshhhh... don't tell Iris and Lola, but Friday they get slippers (Iris's are Hello Kitty and Lola's are Spongebob), and on Sat. they get movies (Iris's is "Annie" and Lola's is some 3D monstrosity about Barbie riding a unicorn, no joke).
I'm sure they'll do fine without you, and will be happy to see you back.
And you can always talk about the contractor from hell rather than the kids ... if all else fails. Actually, once you're surrounded by other people not talking kids I think you'll surprise yourself (and then feel guilty for managing to forget about the girls for an hour or so).
I have been away from my 2 exactly twice since they were born - once for 3 nights when they were little enough not to really notice, and then for 2 WHOLE WEEKS (for work, alas, not fun) last year. A couple of weeks after I got back, H told me I'd been the best mother in the world for the first few days I was back - a huge improvement over my usual status!
I have complete faith in you ... you will have a fabulous time, I predict! So much so that you'll make sure to make more time for such outings on a more regular basis!
I have two to three such outings a year, as does my husband. It's good for ourselves, good for our marriage, and good for our kids. We always come back in a renewed sense of appreciation for each other and what is involved in raising the little ones!!
This trip will be SO good for you. I'm sure you will have a wonderful time. May I humbly recommend you add a book to add to your reading list (if you haven't already read it)? It's Gift From the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The book presents an excellent argument for spending time away and for spending time alone.
I'm so glad you are going on a trip for YOU. While I'm extremely grateful my mom was around all the time...as I get older I wish she'd have taken more time for herself when I was growing up. It seems that after I, the youngest, left the house, she was completely out of practice. You and they will both appreciate the refreshed you after your return! Enjoy :)
I just returned from a trip without my three monsters, and it did me a world of good to be away. However, they're making me pay now that I'm home - especially the baby who won't let me put him down.
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