I am heading up to Idaho today to pick up my 17 year old son, Tim. He has been spending time on my sister's ranch. This is the seventh year my younger kids have spent the summers away from home. I relish the time alone and really enjoy the quiet, solitude, and the fact that when I come home from work the house is as clean as when I left. I would tell people that I couldn't wait until they were all grown and gone and I had the house to myself.
Don't get me wrong . . . I LOVE my children. All 10 of them. But I have had kids at home calling me mom for over 33 years . . . and for more than 10 of those years I have had to play the role of both mother and father without much of a break. So, I look forward to my "vacations" from mothering. I want to explain.
It's not the fact that a mom's job is 24/7 that causes me to crave some alone time so much as the constant parade of everyone else's children that wears me out. I'm one of the only single mothers in my children's circle of friends, yet I come home from work most days to find anywhere from 2-10 extra children swarming around my house, eating the food, and leaving a mess. I used to dream of having a home where my children wanted to bring their friends. It's just that in my dreams, everyone was neat, tidy, and considerate. Oh well, I guess dreams do come true in a distorted way.
However, during this last break I figured something out. When the last one leaves the nest, I will miss them. I will miss the daily adventure, the fun, the conversation, the insights, the chaos, and yes, I will even miss the irritations. It has taken me a while to really figure this out. Friends told me this would happen. Just call me a slow learner.
I now know that sometimes the things we miss the most are the things that used to irritate us . . . all of the quirks and foibles of our very human loved ones. I just hope that in the coming days and weeks when I am feeling most frustrated over the fact that what I had planned for dinner has already been devoured by the hungry hoardes that I might remember my profound realization. I really do want to enjoy EVERY moment with my children. They are all amazing . . . all of the time!