By the time many of you read this, my children will be either en route to see their father or there already. At the end of weekend, I will return to a sorrowfully quiet house. I have spent the last two weeks taking advantage of a very slow work schedule in order to indulge my children with the classic pastimes of summer--sleeping late, playing outside under the shade, visiting the ice cream shop, swimming, running through the sprinkler, enjoying friends, and touring both my original hometown and the children's current one. So far, despite fatigue, a little irritation from noisy play, and a little chaos, the summer has been a wondrous one.
This week, we read a favorite tale, The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. You know this one--the story of the bull in Spain who does not want to fight, but instead, is content to sit under a cork tree and smell the flowers. We laughed over my trying to pronounce the word banderilleros and cozied tightly together on the couch, for once no child fighting or complaining. And then last night, we enjoyed the movies. My kids watched Cars on the big screen as they ate popcorn and wiggled in their seats. I tuned out the plot line completely and instead listened to the kids' giggling. We walked the neighborhood with our big fluffy husky and played with our rabbit. In the afternoons, my daughter, no kidding, would heat up a cup of coffee for me as I painted the kids' toes (Tiny likes his clear and sparkly) or ironed clothes. In a big step toward teaching responsibility and independence, I allowed my daughter greater freedom to visit her favorite sections of the stores where we shop, my presence no longer right around the corner or aisle, but further away. I taught her how to scramble an egg this week. And my son, between the careful guidance of his sister and I, learned how to swim underwater at a big pool on the local army base. Yes, this week wasn't just wondrous. It was, as Jujubee once said, an epic summer.
And all good things must come... to change. I started working in a large corporate office this week as a temp proofreader. While I hope this becomes a regular full-time assignment, I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn and work with a new team in a new environment (and get paid in a timely manner, thank you). So, perhaps I will dwell less on the absence of my children and allow myself to sink into the world of work with less distraction. Jujubee comes home soon, and she will pepper our evenings with art projects and experimental vegan cooking. I foresee some trips to the beach and to see her sister. Last year, the big girls were my saving grace--I would have gone crazy without them because I had never experienced my own children being far from home that long. This summer, I am a bit more prepared, but still apprehensive. At least this time, when I get those last hugs and kisses, when the warmth of little bodies leaves my skin in that one awful moment, I will be able to be so thankful for the memory-eternal sweetness of these last few weeks.