This weekend Rob hauled Will up to his sister’s house in Atlanta for a weekend with Aunt Alicia so that we could then haul ourselves down to the beach for a nearly kid-free weekend with our friends Carey and Brant (nursing Owen comes with the package on this adult).
At two nights, this was our longest separation from Will to date – and I will admit two things: 1) Saturday, which was so miraculously warm on the beach that we could sunbathe in shorts and T-shirts and even brave the water for a minutes-long swim, was the most relaxing, renewing day I’ve enjoyed since Owen was born; and 2) By the end of it, I was missing Will with a quiet ferocity. I just really, really wanted to be able to give him a tight-squeezing goodnight hug. (This is probably a sign that we need to send him off for a weekend or longer more often – for my own detachment work if not for his.)
Today when Rob and Will came in from their rainy drive back from Aunt Alicia’s, I finally gave Will that big hug and told him how much I’d missed him, how glad I was he’d had such a good time. (Aunt Alicia turned her house into a kingdom of toys, towed Will to Barnes and Noble one day for some book shopping and to the Georgia Aquarium the next day for some marine encounters and generally kept Will highly entertained every hour of his time away).
And soon enough, Will had crumpled in my arms, and was crying and crying about how tired he was. I chalked it up to some leftover exhaustion after some nightmares had apparently kept him up a good bit of the night Friday night. Or maybe he’d missed Rob and me that much? But no. Once he’d recovered he suddenly announced his own realization that he was really crying because he missed Aunt Alicia.
I couldn’t help but think, well you might be justified in those tears because tomorrow I’ll be distracted by grocery shopping, piles of laundry and other mundane chores and you’ll have to readjust to life as a self-entertainer. And I suddenly wanted a whole weekend to direct all of my attention to Will – it’s something I haven’t managed to do since well before Owen was born. Probably I’ve never done it as fully as Aunt Alicia did this weekend.
And as a mom, it is good that Will and I are not constant playmates. I have my work; he has his play, which is of course his work – and we work well side by side in that context.
But I do think that I’d like to eventually institute a little trip-taking schedule with the boys like my parents used to do with my brother and I. Here and there we’d enjoy a weekend together just two of us: My mom and I would take a trip to Santa Fe while my brother and my dad stayed home; my dad and I would take a springtime college-visiting trip while my mom and my brother stayed home; my brother and my dad would go on a camping trip to Yellowstone for part of the time that my mom and I were backpacking in Europe. And for just a brief little span of days we’d have some one-on-one time. One day in the future I’d like to have a little adventure – just Will and I …. and another one, just Owen and I, with Rob doing the same of course. Because even with just two kids, it’s nice to take time out to focus on one of them from time to time.
I felt that even this weekend as Owen and I explored the beach together and read more books and shared more pat-a-cakes and itsy-bitsy spider songs than we normally get in over the course of an entire week.
In the meantime, we’ll be hitting Aunt Alicia up for weekends with Will with a tad more regularity. He’s already ready to go back.