Leave! Ok, now come back…

The kids and I drove out to the farm on Tuesday afternoon to sneak a peek of Ms. Elena. We can only handle a week away from that pumpkin before we go nuts. She did not disappoint. Wide-eyed and engaged. We got to even dress her up in ladybug shoes and a barrette!

Ri could seriously spend every waking moment holding her. She situates herself down on the rocking chair and she rocks that baby just like Grandma Heile.

Uncle Jack is staying at the farm, too, until he heads to Sweden in September. So the kids have triple the fun between Aunt Sarah and Uncle Jorge and Uncle Jack. That combo did the trick for me when I got ready to leave Tuesday night and head home. I knew Ri wanted to stay through Friday because she would live at the farm if possible. But Mario usually wants to return home with his mama. However, this night, he gave me a hug and told me he’d stay as long as he had his blue blankie (his new comfort item). It helped that as I was leaving, the crew was getting ready for a corn hole competition. Mario will stay for anything competitive.
And so I drove home with only my pup in the back seat. I looked out my windshield and witnessed a gorgeous rose and orange sunset and began to say “look guys, look at the sunset” but I caught myself. They weren’t back there.
I arrived home and only had to unload Rocco. One trip. I usually have at least three between carrying each kid to their bedroom and carrying the 20 bags we bring for just one day trip.
It was 9:20. Maybe I could watch a movie? I never get to watch movies when the kids are home because they don’t go to bed until 10 and there is no way I can manage a midnight bedtime. I flipped through the channels. Nothing struck me. I ended up half-watching Veep and reading the New York Times. I was snuggled in bed by 10:30.
The next morning I expected a call from Mario begging for me to pick him up.
I worked all day going in and out of thoughts of the kids and wondering what they were doing. By the end of the workday, I figured all was well and that there would be no need to pick Mario up that night.
I biked home, walked Rocco, and took a SOS class with some girlfriends. I haven’t done that since law school.

I felt good after the class. I walked in the front door drenched in sweat and ready to gab it up about how tough the class was for me. But no one was there. Jon was in England so fast asleep. The kids were probably finding eggs in the chicken coop. So I told Rocco all about it on our walk.
The night played out pretty closely to Tuesday night. I sat down with my lasagna and ice cream (hey, I deserved it after that class!), flipped through the channels for 15 minutes, turned on Veep, and caught up on Facebook. I crawled into bed at 10:45.
Thursday morning arrived and I thought surely Mario would call crying for me to get him.
I went through my day thinking of them at random times. 5 pm hit and still no call. Ok, then, I guess I’ll hit another class. Yoga boot camp this time. I biked home exhausted. I opened the front door to silence. No kids running towards me and screaming “Mom!” No fighting. No hitting. But also no hugs or kisses. No blue eyes staring up at me.
I did have brown ones though. Rocco greeted me with licks and kisses and I lapped them up. We took a long walk to the pet store and walked past Jeni’s. I could hear Ri’s pleas in my head to stop for ice cream. We walked past the flower shop and saw the black cat in the window and I could see Mario’s finger pointing at it and his exuberant smile.
Rocco and I got home at 8:30. I began some yard work and decided to call my parents to check in. Mario answered.
“Hellllllooooo, mother!” He was giggling over something happening in the room. He handed the phone directly over to Meg without saying anything more. Meg reported they were doing well and having fun. We discussed a time for my sitter to meet them Friday morning and hung up.
I felt relieved that they were doing so well at the farm. Mario’s had a rough time missing me when he goes out there and it seems like he had much less trouble this time around but dang, he could have at least told me he loved me….
I did a bit more yard work and then went inside to more lasagna, ice cream and Modern Family (needed a break from Veep). The tv provided background noise as I read my sister’s piece in Paris Review and a few other articles. How quiet the house was when I turned off the tv and shut off the computer at 10:30. I walked up the stairs and past Mario’s room. His door was shut and piece of paper was taped on it with the words “keep out.” I looked into Ri’s room and saw her baby lying on the floor with random Barbie accessories lying around.
I missed them and all their quirks.
“They come home tomorrow,” I thought to myself as I took off my eyeliner and splashed water on my face. I fell into the bed and slept straight through to morning. I woke up excited. My babies are coming home today.
It’s so strange how I can dream of a few days alone for months and months and then I get it and I dream of seeing my babes again. I was amazed at how much time I had over the last two days. I thought back to being child-less and how busy I thought I was those days.
Workout, go to work, walk the dog, get dinner, go to bed. Where does the time go, I’d think to myself after a weekend with Jon.
Now I look at me – juggling work, Girl Scouts meetings, school volunteer activities, football, softball, homework, family events, working out, walking the dog, reading, cleaning the house, folding laundry, giving baths, arranging play dates, playing games, wrestling, making dinner…. That’s busy, baby.
And overwhelming at times.
Hence why these small breaks are wonderful.
But they certainly reinforce how grateful I am to have these two kiddos in my life. And Jon. And family. They are my joy and they bring richness and depth to my life. Jon and I made a fine choice in bringing M&M into the world.
When I left work Friday, I felt butterflies biking home to see them. Butterflies?! How many times in the last month have I wanted to scream at them or pull my hair out over their tantrums? Yet I have butterflies in my stomach in anticipation of seeing them tonight? Whoever or whatever is responsible for creating this indelible bond between parent and child should be commended.
Those hugs from M&M when I jumped off my bike to greet them were like pumpkin pies with loads of whipped cream – comforting and filling and long-awaited goodness.



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