Half of us left for San Diego yesterday. It doesn't happen very often, where one of us takes one kid on a trip, but it's happened a few times, and when I'm the one left at home, I have these twin, dueling reactions. On the one hand, sheer giddiness at having half the responsibility, 1/3 the people to contend with, 1/3 the housekeeping and noise and interaction (because I'm an introvert, as you know). It feels like...true and total and absolute and liberating FREEDOM! My God, I could do anything. Because, really, living with just one kid, who is pretty grown-up and self-sufficient, is super-close to living by yourself. You just have some very sweet, very easygoing company. Still, I shiver to think about what it might be like someday if E. actually took both girls some where. I honestly think I would combust.
I remake the bed with our softest sheets and our comfiest comforter. I vacuum. I set the temperature of the house TO WHATEVER I WANT, meaning I open all the windows or run the swamp cooler or the fake fireplace and nobody is skulking around, rubbing their arms and whispering about how cold it is (because some of us don't have hormones that fluctuate like the stock market, and our temperatures are always stable). I take a bite of cheese right off the block, without cutting it first. Addie and I eat giant ice cream sundaes and stay up late watching truly terrible reality tv shows (Dance Moms, because it makes me look so nice) and we take long baths and smear nice-smelling lotions on and nobody wrinkles their noses and I paint my nails and nobody fake-coughs at the smell.
But then, the tv and lights go out and the rain is falling softly while much of my state is flooding and it would be very nice to have someone's familiar body next to me, heating things up and to murmur about the day with and to maybe even slightly snore a little just to cut the silence. And in the morning, when it's somehow dark all of a sudden, to bring me coffee in bed and to cut my gloomy grumpiness with their never-ending morning cheerfulness, and to have the bustle of making lunches and filling backpacks and loud kisses goodbye.
They will be home soon, and I will for just a minute look back longingly at the quiet tidiness of their absence, but mostly I will be very, very glad they have returned.