Today I enjoy an opportunity that is extremely rare in my home. I am boarding a plane where I will meet up with my husband. We will enjoy one, two, three, four, FIVE NIGHTS TOGETHER WITHOUT ANY CHILDREN.
When we discovered he had two weeks of conferences in New Hampshire, with a free weekend in between, the looks began shooting between us. When I realized I could get a VERY cheap flight just by adjusting my arrival and departure days, my heart started to beat out of my chest. When my parents agreed to watch our five children for those five nights ... well, I either screamed or passed out. I can't quite remember which.
Saying all of that to say that prepping for this trip has been no party. Getting all the bugs worked out at the park to make sure it runs smoothly was glitchy. Helping my mom be prepared to feed our tiny army for that long took a little extra planning. Assisting my kids as they juggle spending that much time in a familiar (but still not "routine") bed as well as being separated from their parents for the longest stretch yet ... well, we did it.
After all these years, I'm insanely proactive. We talked through scenarios. We didn't wait for big feelings, we just talked about all the possibilities. The kids did some role playing before we even left the house. Last night my mom was awesome blossom and did a "test run" time out with all of them, just so they would know what would happen if someone needed to take a breather while she's in charge.
My kids have a lot of concerns, so I have tried (not always patiently) to answer every single, solitary question they have about their schedules and what they'll eat and ... you name it.
It has been rocky, but better than previous trips. When I get back, we will schedule MAJOR down time, and give plenty of space for meltdowns as needed (we had one last week, so I'm reminded that sometimes there is a little bit more of a delay). I'm reminding them that they may need and WANT that. They are doing DANG HARD WORK, and allowing themselves to have TONS of fun with their grandparents. It's both wonderful and exhausting at times, for their hearts and minds. So, I just say, "Do both! Have fun. Freak out a bit later. Whatever. Just don't miss out on the fun!!"
I say the same thing on my end, "Do both! Let Mom and Dad have fun and keep making their marriage rockin' awesome. Freak out a bit later. Whatever. Just don't think Mom and Dad are going to miss out on the making our marriage rockin' awesome."
I expect fall-out, but I have gotten much better about NOT thinking about it while I'm enjoying the good, wonderful thing. If it's gonna' happen anyway, why start stressing about it early? Have fun. Do the wonderful thing. Help your kids through the meltdowns later. Do both. Don't let one dictate the other. Cause your Hottie McHot-Hot is worth it. You all are.