I woke up early this morning and listened to my children breathing all around me.
I missed them already.
Their dad is coming to take them back to Washington, back to school and normal life, and I am staying here in Idaho to be with my mom when she starts her cancer treatment next week.
I’ve thought a lot the past two weeks about balance, and especially about balancing my responsibilities as a daughter with my responsibilities as a mother. (Although I’m not sold on that word “responsibilities.” That makes it sound too onerous, since I love being a daughter and I love being a mother. But since I can’t think of what else to call it, “responsibilities” stays for now.)
I’ve never been without my kids for more than a few days at a time.
Not in almost 11 years.
I’ll miss Colby’s counting, his little smile, his building of walls and lines, snuggles in the morning, and (most of all) giving him “Mom hugs.” The other night I put him up on my shoulders and he rubbed my fuzzy head like there was no tomorrow.
I’ll miss Rainbow’s jokes and laughter, her flexibility, and her fun personality. While playing charades with the cousins last week, she got the word “stapler.” She didn’t act like she was using a stapler, she acted like she was a stapler. Now one of my favorite memories.
I’ll miss my Eden’s goofy faces and silly dances, her desire to do all things creative (even when her mom tells her, “Later.”), and her constant measuring to see if she’s taller than I am (not yet). I dragged a box with all my (and Niki’s) Sweet Valley Twins and Babysitters’ Club books out of the loft for her this trip; she’s already on book six of the SVT. (Eden has promised me it won’t turn her into a drama queen.)
I’ll miss Zack explaining things to me, his excitement about Pokemon (I’m still clueless despite repeated attempts to educate me), and the small kindnesses he does when he thinks no one is watching. His cousin gave him a book the other day to read on his trip home. It’s the first of John Flanagan’s The Guardian’s Apprentice series, and happens to be one I recommended to him about six months ago after I’d read it. No dice, of course. But after his cousin gave it to him, he read it within 24 hours. (Yes, Mom’s opinion has been outranked by a peer’s opinion. And not for the last time, I’m sure. Ouch.)
I will miss them, but it will be good for them to spend some time with their dad. (I think it will be good for their dad, too. An educational experience all around.)
And it will be good for me to spend time with my mom and my dad.
I don’t know if I’ll ever achieve that elusive thing called “balance,” but I’m doing the best that I can. And really, that’s all a body can do.